Welcome to the memorial page for

Dr. Maria Alexandrov

October 6, 1939 ~ December 20, 2017 (age 78)

The Piano Brothers
Obituary Image

Dr. Maria Alexandrov, 78, of Hanover, PA, entered God’s eternal care on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 while visiting her daughter Etel Alexandrov-Gershon in Virginia Beach, VA.

Born October 6, 1939 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, she was the daughter of the late Todor (Theodore) and Estirka (Esther) Shishkov. Dr. Maria Todorova Alexandrov was the loving wife of the late Dr. Stefan Alexandrov who died December 29, 2009.

Dr. Maria was a graduate of the Ivan Pavlov Institute of Medicine in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and along with her late husband Dr. Stefan Alexandrov had a joint family medical practice in Hanover from 1974 to 2006. She was the first female physician in Hanover, PA and was longstanding member of the American Medical Association. 

Drs. Maria and Stefan Alexandrov, taking along their 4 year old son Kiril and 6 month old daughter Etel, and on the day she was to assume her duties as a Professor of Pediatrics, escaped from the Communist Soviet Bloc in 1969 by evading border guards in the middle of the night through the Alps until they found safety at a political refugee camp in Italy.  One year later they came to the United States and after short stays in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and also inner city Philadelphia, settled in Hanover, PA in 1974. In getting re-certified as a physician via the ECFMG test, Dr. Maria Alexandrov scored the highest ever for a female physician resulting in very generous research job offers at big pharma companies around the USA but Dr. Maria opted for family practice because she loved helping people more than research.

Dr. Maria Alexandrov was a devout member of Trinity United Church of Christ, Hanover, PA.  She enjoyed piano, organ, accordion, dancing, travel, literature, biology and basketball. In her later years, she loved playing with her four grandchildren, gardening, painting, and helping Hanover area families adopt kids from decrepit Communist era state run orphanages in Bulgaria after the fall of Communism.  A member of the Hanover Arts Guild, she won awards for her paintings and exhibited at area galleries and shows.  Dr. Maria had her own medical radio show on Voice of America which was broadcast bi-monthly into Bulgaria during Communist days. She was also passionate about designing for her daughter Etel’s baby knitwear company.

Dr. Maria profoundly touched everyone she met, was selfless, and always went out of her way to help others.  She was a mentor to many, but most importantly a loving, caring, and beautiful mother, grandmother, and sister.  Our mother will be deeply and sadly missed by her family forever.

Maria is survived by her daughter, Etel Alexandrov-Gershon and husband Dr. Steven Gershon of Virginia Beach, VA and her son Kiril Alexandrov and wife Catherine Alexandrov of Cambridge, MA, four grandchildren, Stefan, Jack, Annika and Rex. Her brother Mitko Shishkov resides in Bulgaria with his daughter Essie, a classical musician. 

A funeral service to celebrate and remember Dr. Maria’s life will be held 11 AM, Friday December 29, 2017 at Trinity United Church of Christ, 116 York Street, Hanover, PA, with Rev. Peg Grzelkowski officiating.  Burial will be in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, PA.  A visitation and time to share memories with the family will be held from 10 – 11 AM, Friday, December 29, 2017 at the church.

In addition to flowers, and if so inspired, contributions in Dr. Maria’s memory may be also made to her beloved late husband Dr. Stefan Alexandrov’s special memorial fund for Dr. Douglas Ball’s Medullary Thyroid Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins University by writing to that effect along with mailing a check to: Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine, 5200 Eastern Avenue, MFL Center Tower, Suite 354 Baltimore, MD, 21224. Memorial contributions can also be made in Dr. Maria Alexandrov’s honor to Trinity United Church of Christ in Hanover, PA to continue their good works.   

The Kenworthy Funeral Home, Inc., 269 Frederick Street, Hanover, PA is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. Memories and condolences may be shared at

Charitable donations may be made to:

Trinity United Church of Christ
116 York Street, Hanover PA 17331

Dr. Douglas Ball’s Medullary Thyroid Cancer Research
5200 Eastern Avenue, MFL Center Tower, Suite 354, Baltimore MD 21224

 Service Information

December 29, 2017

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Trinity United Church of Christ
116 York Street
Hanover, PA 17331

Funeral Service
December 29, 2017

11:00 AM
Trinity United Church of Christ
116 York Street
Hanover, PA 17331

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