Founder of Matt Talbot Kitchen passes away

Mary Costello was 79 years old when she died on Sunday while on hospice care.
Mary Costello was 79 years old when she died on Sunday while on hospice care.(Don Costello)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 8:17 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Mary Costello, the founder of the Matt Talbot Kitchen, passed away on Sunday at the age of 79. According to her husband, Don Costello, she died in hospice care from a heart condition.

Don said Mary embraced a charitable philosophy her entire life.

“You gotta give back,” he said. “You can’t take it with you. There are poor people in this world.”

Mary was born on Oct. 25, 1940. She went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduated from Duchesne Academy in Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral care. She also graduated from Seattle University with a degree in sociology.

In September 1961, she married Don. Together they had seven children and 22 grandchildren.

Mary wrote for several newspapers, both local and international, during her lifetime. These included the Lincoln Journal Star, the Sun Newspaper, and many others.

Don said her greatest achievement was the founding of the Matt Talbot Kitchen in 1992. According to the Matt Talbot website, since its first meal, the kitchen has served over 2.4 million meals through faith-based and inclusive volunteer efforts. The organization is named after the venerable Matt Talbot, an Irish Catholic man born in 1856 who dedicated his life to supporting his community.

“She was especially concerned with people who were drunks, who were addicts,” Don said. “Nobody is singularly diagnosed with addiction these days. And she helped, like you had to help them. Matt Talbot helped us - you gotta give back.”

A mass will take place on Thursday morning. According to Don, the hearse will drive past the Matt Talbot Kitchen.

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