Marie Anne Keane Van Wagner Peshenka, of Middle Island, died Aug. 16 in Riverhead. She was 85.
Born July 2, 1934 in New York City, Marie was the daughter of Francis Keane and Barbara Reidy Keane. Marie — often known by her childhood nickname Rianne — grew up in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan and graduated with a nursing degree from the Columbia University School of Nursing in 1955. While pursuing her degree, Marie met Paul Van Wagner and they were married in February 1956, shortly after her graduation.
Marie and Paul raised four children in Port Jefferson and were active members of the Infant Jesus R.C. parish. Marie worked as a registered nurse for a number of local hospitals and schools, including the Nesaquake Middle School in Smithtown school district.
After Marie and Paul retired, they moved to Green Valley, Arizona, in 1991. When Paul died in 1999, Marie moved to Prescott Valley, Arizona. There, Marie met and married Andrew Peshenka. Andrew died in 2013.
Over the years, Marie was most in her element welcoming family and friends into her home, visiting others for social gatherings and traveling. Marie was always “a good sport,” and was willing to play any dice or card game, to join any chorus, and to get up and dance to any new song. While married to Peshenka, Marie even took on the role of navigator for his road rally races.
In her later years, Marie also was an active parishioner and served as a Eucharistic minister at St. Germaine R.C. parish in Prescott Valley.
Marie is survived by her daughters Elizabeth Gibson, Jane Whitelock (Craig) and Ellen Harrington (Kevin); her son David Van Wagner (Lisa); her grandchildren Daniel Kohlmeyer (Marissa), Andrew Kohlmeyer (April), Matthew Whitelock, Diana Van Wagner, Erika Whitelock, Claire Van Wagner, Colin Harrington, Christopher Whitelock, Stephen Whitelock, Brian Whitelock, Jarrod Odom and Thomas Harrington; her great-grandchildren Angelina Kohlmeyer, Cameron Garcia, Blake Garcia, Madison Kohlmeyer, Liam Kohlmeyer, Declan Whitelock and Evalina Kohlmeyer; her sister Joyce O’Loughlin (Kenneth); and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, Marie was preceded in death, as stated, by her husbands Paul Van Wagner and Andrew Peshenka.
A Mass of celebration will be held Sept. 21, 12:30 p.m. at the St. Charles Chapel, 200 Belle Terre Road, Port Jefferson. A reception will follow at approximately 2 p.m. at Miller Place Inn, located at 195 North Country Road in Miller Place. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Germaine R.C. Church, Prescott Valley, Arizona, or a charity of one’s choice.