Mary Ploch, 86, New Milford native, nurse, foster mother to 16 children

Mrs. Ploch was born March 12, 1918, in New Milford, daughter of the late Frank and Louise (Zielinski) Wodjenski.

She was a member of the first graduating class of Saint Francis Xavier School in New Milford. She attended New Milford High, where she excelled in tennis, basketball and school politics. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in nursing from Columbia University and worked at St. Vincent's Hospital in Bridgeport and for the New Milford schools. For years she was the only nurse in the local Visiting Nurse Association.

Mrs. Ploch was an active member of the St. Francis Church congregation. In addition to raising their own four children, the Plochs cared for a total of 16 foster children.

Mrs. Ploch is survived by two sisters, Elizabeth Orciuch of Shelton and Gertrude Fritz of Newtown; a brother, John Wodjenski of New Milford; three sons, Chris and his wife Cher of Cloverdale, Calif., Patrick of New Milford and Joe Jr. and his wife Ruth of Salisbury; two daughters, Mary Jo Dix and her husband Jeff of New Milford, and Karen Carey of Torrington; dozens of grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by two brothers, Frank and Joseph of New Milford.

The Lillis Funeral Home of New Milford was in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association, 68 Park Lane Road, New Milford, CT 06776.