Maria Raser left us on January 19, 2018 at age 87, succumbing to Alzheimer’s Disease. Born Maria Carina Babakin in Schenectady, N.Y., on July 24, 1930 to German-Russian immigrants Alexander and Wilhelmina Babakin, Maria attended a one-room schoolhouse through the 8th grade, teaching her two younger sisters the alphabet before they entered school.
After high school in Scotia, N.Y., she attended secretarial college, perfecting the valuable skills of shorthand, court reporting and typing before landing a high-level secretarial position at I.B.M. in Poughkeepsie. There she met her future husband, Edward, an engineer working on early computers.
Though they married in New York State, I.B.M. took them to Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey as well.
Staying home to raise their two children, Maria returned to school, refreshing her childhood Russian and eventually earning a B.A. in sociology from Rutgers University in New Jersey at age 48.
In 1972, Maria and Ed traveled to West Germany to meet her cousins and then to the Soviet Union—coinciding with President Nixon’s visit—where Maria used her Russian to gain entrance to her ancestors’ Lutheran church-turned-Soviet sports hall with its Olympic pool in the former sanctuary.
Maria finally returned to work as a secretary to a department head at Vitro Corporation in Maryland.
Settling in Germantown, Maryland, she took great pleasure in flower gardening and taking long bike rides or walks around nearby Lake Frank.
After retiring, she lived near her son in New Jersey for several years before moving to York County in 2010 to be close to her daughter and sisters.
Attending Bethel Baptist Church in Tabb, she put her faith in Christ at age 82.
She continued to enjoy classical music concerts and walks outdoors even after moving into assisted living.
At Mennowood Retirement Community, where she spent her last two years, she always introduced herself as “Maria Raser—Rutgers College” and wore her signature Rutgers cap. She remained an excellent speller and continued to playfully greet people in Russian until her last days.
Maria leaves behind her former husband Edward Raser (New Jersey), sisters Natalie Shrader and Lydia Disney (both of Yorktown), her son Jonathan (New Jersey), her daughter Leslie (Yorktown), grandsons Colin and Daniel Raser, and granddaughter Stephanie Wojtsekhowski, as well as nieces and nephews.
We wish to thank the Mennowood staff for their tireless patience, compassion and care for Maria and for honoring her as Resident of the Month in August of 2016.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations to the Mennowood Foundation (13013 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA. 23602), which assists Mennowood residents who have outlived their savings…or to a charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held at Amory Funeral Home in Grafton on Monday, May 14, at 2 pm with a visitation following. All are welcome. In lieu of condolences, please bring best memories.