Maria Vernezos, beloved daughter to Nick and Jennie Vernezos, loving sister to Dimitri, Alexi and Fotini Vernezos passed away suddenly on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Her funeral services will be closed to family only, to be held at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church where she went to Greek school. She will be laid to rest at Elmwood Cemetery in Markham one block away from where she grew up.
Maria was born February 5, 2001 in Toronto at Scarborough Grace Hospital. She grew up in Markham surrounded by people who loved her dearly, attending William Armstrong and Markham District High School where she was adored by many who she impacted and supported as a true and fiercely loyal authentic friend. She truly believed that Jesus was her saviour and had God in her heart and her life from the very start.
Her grandparents helped raise her, and would pick her up from school everyday and make sure she ate homemade healthy Greek dishes and that she had everything she could possibly need. Maria went on to make her parents proud and attend the University of Toronto, Saint George campus, in hopes of becoming a successful lawyer. She aspired to one day attend Oxford law school. Her ambitions were as big as her heart. This last school term she impressed her parents by receiving remarkable grades, she was well on her way. Maria dedicated her whole life to her siblings and making sure they were always happy and well taken care of. She called them her people and best friends. She fiercely loved her family, Grandparents, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Godparents - creating a unique bond with each and everyone of them.
She was a special girl, who lit up every room she entered. She had an intimate connection with everyone who was lucky enough to have known her. She was the most amazing, kind, beautiful person with the brightest presence in the room, she was adored by her siblings, cousins and friends who paid testament to how much of an impact she had on their lives. Maria was adored by her parents, siblings, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. They shared so many special adventures and memories with her, that they will never forget.
From a young age Maria selflessly volunteered her recesses to help special needs children and her PA Days to help her mother teach in her special education classroom. She was wise beyond her years and had a natural instinct to help those who needed her. Maria continued on this path and during highschool she went back to her grade school to teach grade three where she was utterly adored by her students. This is where she decided to open up a small business to tutor children. She was an entrepreneur, smart, patient and kind and if she could have continued working with children she would have empowered even more young minds.
Maria was an amazing dancer, who began ballet when she was three years old. She was born with rhythm and an ear for music. Maria loved all types of music and it brought her joy. Maria was a performer, in many forms of dancing including Greek dancing, lyrical, Jazz, ballet, contemporary and freestyle. She was the life of the party. Not many people knew because she didn't sing in public, but Maria had the voice of an angel. She could be compared to Adele, and Billie Eilish, but only those close to her ever got to hear the strong beautiful voice.
In addition, Maria was a brilliant student, balancing making her highschool honour roll, completing Greek school with distinction and owning her own small tutoring business. She impressed everyone who met her because she was genuine, humble, thoughtful, kind, and above all loving. She was insightful beyond her years, and everyone in her circle claimed her as their best friend.
In Maria’s words, the colour that described her the most was red with blue undertones as it reflected her loyalty to the people she loved the most and her ability to selflessly stay strong for them. Her favourite movies were Freedom Writers, a movie about a teacher who taught and helped underprivileged kids, which reminded her of her mother, and Good Will Hunting because of the cute boys and the theme of hidden intelligence (and of course the Boston accents). What she saw herself doing 10 years from now was being an aunt, hosting Easter parties at her own house, having a competition with her sister and mother to see who can grow the biggest magnolia tree, moving out with her sister to her house in Toronto, having surfer babies on a kiwi farm in Hawaii, travelling to L.A with her cousin and visiting Bondi beach in Australia during our winter. The sage advice Maria gave to her future self was that tough times are coming, be prepared, but let people in. Maria loved water. A quote from Maria’s thought journal... “Water is FREE. THE Ocean is haPPineSs. I have always loved the water, having my hair wet. Almost as much as feeling the warm sun on my skin, soaking up the vitamin D. It's like my own personal therapist.”
She had written in her journal a vow that if she left us one day, she would watch over us and reach us through the warmth of the sun and the light of the moon. Last New Year’s, she wrote each of her family members a detailed letter about how much they truly meant to her and how much she loved and cherished each one of them.
Maria travelled to Greece many times and loved swimming in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. Her house in Loutsa was visited every couple of years and together with her family Maria adventured all over Greece and Europe. She was the one with all the great ideas and big plans for her siblings and they would often meet up in her room to plan their next event or adventure. Always the life of the party, Maria had the brightest presence in every room. Maria was the magnet that her whole family was drawn to and she made sure that they all knew that they were her chosen people - “THE SIX.”
Beyond her academic achievements, Maria was an activist and an environmentalist. She always used her voice and social media platforms to speak on issues of inequality, human rights, saving our planet, animal rights, and anything that was against her morals. Maria put everyone else first, those closest to her, the less fortunate, those with disabilities and all who lived through injustice. She believed in true equality and fairness and wouldn’t be a bystander to injustice. She believed that in her lifetime we could actually achieve change and true equality. Maria was selfless, helpful, thoughtful, strong, relentless, brave and always stood her ground. May her memory be eternal.
Her family plans to memorialize Maria through a park bench donated to her Elementary school William Armstrong Public School and hopes to name a park after her or donate trees to honour her love for our Earth and her dedication to protecting us and it.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to be put towards “Permanent Tributes to Memorialize and Honour our beautiful Maria”. Please donate to the gofundme page here.