Nature 33

Mary Connelly LaBarre

April 21, 1945 ~ November 16, 2019 (age 74)


Mary died in the Marie-Rose Center at Mary's Woods at Marylhurst in Lake Oswego November 16, 2019 after a long debilitating illness. She died surrounded by love after facing her rare brain disease with courage and grace. Throughout her years she embraced life with joy and a beatific smile. It seemed sunshine walked beside her.
She was the first born of a large family in Chicago. Among her many accomplishments, the one of which she was most proud was being the oldest of nine children. Small children were always a tonic to her.

Mary grew up in the Chicago area and Spokane. She was a brilliant student and was designated for a National Merit Scholarship. She chose Trinity College in Washington, D.C. There she met her future husband Jerry on a blind date to a Georgetown Law School social. The spark of love struck and they married in 1968 after both graduated. Mary was a talented writer. Her first job was as a writer for Foreign Agriculture magazine. After the couple moved to Portland in 1969 she wrote for Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center and authored a book on the first 100 years of the hospital. She flourished in the springtime of her life.

In 1972 the couple purchased their first and only home on Alameda Ridge in Northeast Portland. There they raised their three children Paul, Katharine and Sarah. They immersed themselves in numerous activities particularly those focused on social justice and building community. Much of their involvement revolved around St. Andrew Catholic Church where Mary put in many volunteer hours. As the children grew older Mary returned to her love of learning and set her sights on becoming a college professor. She started by taking a teaching position at St. Mary's Academy while beginning studies at the University of Portland. She ultimately received her master's degree from UP and her doctorate from Seattle University and achieved her goal of becoming a UP professor.

Timing was everything. Mary's doctorate coincided with Jerry being appointed a Circuit Court Judge. Each of them loved their jobs which also allowed for their passion for travel. They embarked on numerous trips to places like Southeast Asia, South America, China and Europe. Mary also loved hiking and camping in Oregon's mountains and lounging at its beaches.

Throughout her life Mary was surrounded by close friends and family who rallied around her as her disease began taking hold. She was ultimately required to move to Mary's Woods for resident services. There she delighted in the good care from the staff and from visits by family and friends. She will be remembered for her dancing eyes and her joie de vivre.

Mary is survived by her husband, Jerry; and children, Paul, Katharine (Brendan) and Sarah; her grandchildren, Benjamin and Thomas Dundas; as well as two sisters; and six brothers.

A funeral Mass will occur at 11 a.m., Saturday, December 7, 2019, at St. Andrew Catholic Church 806 N.E. Alberta St., Portland. A reception will follow at the St. Andrew Community Center.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests remembrances be made to St. Andrew Nativity School: or The Alzheimer's Association of Oregon:

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Connelly LaBarre, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Mass
December 7, 2019

11:00 AM
St. Andrew Catholic Church (St. Andrew Community Center)

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