Cape Coral woman celebrated with surprise 90th birthday party

Published: July 24, 2022 12:42 PM EDT

There is a time to be humble and a time to celebrate.

“She told me, ‘mom didn’t want a big party,'” said Tony, who flew in from New Hampshire to celebrate his mom, Mary Cricco.

“She’s not good at being in the limelight. So for her to be here like this, for her, it’s oh, I don’t deserve this, you know? But she does,” said Dawn Peterson, Mary’s youngest daughter.

Mary, along with her late husband, donated more than 30 years of their life volunteering for their church and school functions.

She’s crocheted almost 100 Red, White and Blue blankets for veterans in hospice, more than 300 blankets for babies at the Golisano Children’s hospital, and countless slippers and afghans for everyone.

“Sitting with my momma at the coal stove. When I was a little girl, I was 4 years old. She taught me to crochet,” said Mary. “I just enjoy giving them away. That. That gives me pleasure.”

Mary has called First Christian Church home since April of 1989.

“My husband and I walked into this church, and that’s the most important thing that ever happened to me. It was such a comfort when he passed,’ said Mary.

Her beloved husband Tony passed in 2021. On Saturday, her family gathered at First Christian Church to celebrate a life well lived. Mary had no idea about the surprise.

“I thought I died and went to heaven!” said Mary.

By blood or by faith, Cricco is the mother everyone always needs.

“She has something in her that everybody is drawn to her,” said Dawn. During her interview with WINK News, a dear friend named John came up to give her a hug and kiss for her birthday.

“My mother’s been in heaven since 1992. You know that empty void? It gets filled for a temporary time until I go home and see my mom, but her love is just – there is no words you can put for this.”

“I love each and every one of them. I’m still in awe. Still, it’s just wonderful. Now do I have a great family or what?” said Mary.