On Friday June 5 2015 Mary Beth Lytle was killed in a tragic automobile accident near Palm Springs, California. She was traveling back to her home in Tucson with her husband, Josh Lytle, and her granddaughter, Fiana Acosta, after a short family vacation. Mary Beth was killed instantly; her husband sustained serious injuries including fractured vertebrae; and Fiana, who was thrown from the vehicle, sustained injuries similar to her Grandfather’s.
Mary Beth’s funeral took place on June 26th at SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Mission, which her father, the late Archpriest John Bockman, and his wife, Presvytera Valerie, had founded decades ago.
Metropolitan Moses of Toronto, who played a large role in the acquisition of the present property on which the Mission Chapel is located, presided at the funeral. Bishop Sergios of Portland emeritus attended and sang with the choir, composed of Hierodeacon Moses and Schema Monk Patrick, both of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery in Lake County, California. Mary Beth, in addition to helping to found SS Peter & Paul Mission, served as the Mission’s contact person, choir, general administrator and organizer of its ongoing life and work.
Recently, after years of Readers' Services for a relatively small number of members, the congregation was greatly augmented following the union between the Archdiocese of Etna and the Diocese of Portland, the new members being almost all Romanians.
His Grace, Bishop Auxentius, has provided constant pastoral guidance and consolation to the grieving community, and will preside at the Mission’s upcoming Altar Feast.
In addition to her husband and mother and granddaughter, Mary Beth leaves a daughter, Janet Acosta, and a number of siblings, nephews and nieces.
She not only oversaw the difficult task of providing an ongoing Mission income, needed to retire its mortgage and cover ongoing expenses, she also founded St Tabitha’s Guild, a vestment-making enterprise, all of whose profits were donated to the Mission. Mary Beth had also achieved great distinction as a restorer of antique dolls and led an annual Doll Tour to Europe the profits of which also supported SS Peter & Paul. She had organized two highly-praised Ikon Tours to the Balkans with the help of Saint Gregory of Sinai Monastery in California and again, profits went to support the Tucson community.
She was also the managing editor of the Portland diocesan Bulletin, The Good Word, which could not have been published without her remarkable gifts. The matter of its continuation has been laid before the Bishop of Etna & Portland, Bishop Auxentius, and if it is blessed to continue its work, a new managing editor will be named. That said, there will be an inevitable gap in the publishing schedule of that Bulletin.
Mary Beth served as the Accountant and Financial Advisor to the Portland Diocese and had mastered the regulatory provisions provided by the Internal Revenue Service to non-profit corporations. She was instrumental in ensuring that the Portland Diocese remained aligned with the IRS’ regulations, at times under difficult circumstances.
She will be greatly missed within her own family, and by the different communities in which she played a central role. Prayers are asked for her soul’s repose, for her grieving family and friends, and for the Tucson Mission which she loved and served so well.
Eternal be her memory!
+Bishop Sergios of Portland emeritus