Mary Colleen Serrano 91, passed away on June 16
, 2023. Our mother joins the love of her life, Rudy Serrano in Heaven. If there were ever a well lived life, it was the life of Colleen Serrano.
Colleen was born Mary Colleen Alberts on May 10
, 1932, in Elkton, South Dakota to Ray and Luella Murphy Alberts. She was the youngest of four children. The Depression into which she was born shaped her life as she often shared with her children vivid memories of growing up on the Great Plains. Like many families
enduring hardships during the Great Depression, her parents sought a new and better life in a warmer climate and moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1943. After her move to Arizona, Colleen never considered any place but Arizona as home. Colleen was an 80-year resident of Arizona at the time of her death.
Colleen attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Phoenix from 1943 to 1946. She moved to Chandler in 1945 with her parents, who owned and operated the Silver Bell Lodge on Arizona Avenue. In the summer of 1946, she met the man she would later marry, Rudy Serrano. They both attended Chandler High School, graduating in 1950. Colleen was an active sportswoman in high school and competed in tennis, basketball, and softball. Her passion for tennis lasted her entire life. Colleen spent many weekend mornings on the tennis court with dear friends. Colleen attended Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado, graduating in 1954.
Colleen and Rudy were married on September 6
, 1954. The very same day, they set out for Fort Sill, Oklahoma where Rudy was stationed in the Army. Returning to Chandler, Arizona, in 1956, Rudy joined the family business. Rudy and Colleen worked side by side with Rudy’s older brother Ernie and his wife Eva in building Serrano’s department stores. Colleen later taught English at both Chandler and Anderson Junior High Schools.
Rudy and Colleen were active members of the Chandler Community during their lives. Colleen was a member of the Chandler Service Club as an Active, Sustaining and Life Member. She served as President in the 1971-1972 club year. Her
commitment to helping others was a driving force in her life. Despite having eight children at home, she was never too busy to help someone in need. Colleen was a voracious reader and Bridge player. She passed her love of reading to all eight of her children.
Colleen often said she was a wife first, then a mother, and everything else came after that. She lived that creed until she drew her last breath. Her Catholic faith sustained her throughout her life including the premature deaths of both her older sister and mother.
Colleen is predeceased by her husband Rudy in 2016, her parents and her siblings, Ellen Ann Risch and James Alberts. She is survived by her brother, Robert Alberts of Carlsbad, CA, and her eight children, Margaret (Bruce Robinson), Joe, Susan (Cliff Jones), John (Heidi), Kevin (Shan), Mary Ann (Jeff Evans), Steven (Steve Schopf) and Cookie (Jane Hill). Colleen was a beloved Nana to twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her best friend, Mary Lou Carpenter, and loving extended Serrano, Alberts and Murphy families who adored her.
Services for Colleen will be held on Thursday, June 22
, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 230 West Galveston Street, Chandler, Arizona. Recitation of the Rosary will start at 10:30 am and a Mass of Christian Burial will commence at 11:00 am. Internment will take place at the Valley of the Sun Cemetery following the Funeral Mass. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made in her name to the Chandler Service Club: (chandlerserviceclub.org or P.O. Box 1243, Chandler, AZ 85244).
The Serrano family wishes to thank the staff of the Gardens of Ocotillo for the care extended to our mother the last seven years of her life and Aegis Hospice who provided Colleen’s end of life care and guidance to her family.
We will miss her warm smile, her beautiful blue eyes, her wit, and her wisdom. May she rest in peace with our father.
Condolences may be expressed at www.buelermortuary.com.