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On December 3rd, 2012, after having suffered a major stroke nine days earlier, Mary Ann Sheahan went peacefully to her Lord and Saviour surrounded by friends and family at the University Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.
Mary was born in Montreal on February 15th, 1924, the eldest child of Edwin and Sarah Sheahan. (Mary's only sibling, Patrick, died soon after he was born). At a young age, Mary moved with her parents to Alberta, first to Lamont, then St. Paul, where her father was the only dentist in town. It was in St. Paul that she first met her soon-to-be lifelong friends Helen Brosseau, Yvette Stainton, and Jerry Skitch, all of whom predeceased Mary.
Mary graduated from high school in St. Paul, but she also went to the FCJ Convent in Edmonton for one year. At the convent she met Cecilia ("Ceccy") Jacobs in 1941, and they remained great friends for the next 74 years. Mary often said: "I made some great friends along the way, and I worked to keep them."
After high school, Mary went to the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. Montreal then beckoned, and Mary moved there to work for Squibb Manufacturing, where she was the head of testing injectables. Mary (who was bilingual) often commented about how much she had loved her time in Montreal, and it must have been so very exciting, glamorous and exotic for a girl from a small-town Alberta.
Following the death of her father in 1956, Mary returned to Edmonton to be closer to her mother. Mary went back to university and graduated with a Pharmacy degree, and she worked in various independent pharmacy stores around Edmonton for approximately the following 30 years. (She made it a point to shop at independent pharmacy stores for her entire life).
Over the years Mary grew to love the city of Edmonton, and in particular, she loved living in the Grandin area. She liked being close to where the action was. She purchased her first apartment at Quinn House Condominiums, and a couple of years later she purchased and moved into her dream apartment in the same building. It was in that apartment, with its enormous living and dining room, that Mary was able to cook, entertain and host parties in the manner that she liked (Mary loved to entertain friends).
For decades, Mary served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors at Quinn House Condominiums. She was well liked at Quinn House, and she made many friends there over the years. It was there that she met Gladys Hayes and Helen Wozny, as well as Kevin and Aubrey (her 'boys'), joining the ranks of Jane Orydzuk and Blossom, all of whom were good friends to Mary, especially in her later years. It was a sad day for Mary when she had to leave her Quinn House apartment to move to Rosedale Manor, but she was soon thereafter pleased to report that she had reconnected with an old friend, Marie Longworth, a fellow resident at Rosedale Manor. Mary and Marie would meet every day for dinner and/or lunch. It was extremely difficult for Mary when Marie passed away last year.
Even in her later years, right up to the day she had her stroke, Mary was always ready, at the drop of a hat, to put on her coat, fluff up her hair, and get in the car and go anywhere. She loved going for drives and out for lunch or dinner. She was stylish and invariably well-put together (she would always check herself out in the hallway mirror as she was leaving, smiling at herself confidently). She was witty and charming right up to the end of her life. She was exceedingly interested in the world and its affairs, and she had such a positive view of the world and mankind. She loved watching Edmonton grow up around her into the cosmopolitan city that it has become. She invariably found something good to say about anyone and everyone. Negativity was not to be tolerated around Mary. Her faith was extremely important to her. She was compassionate and caring to friends in their times of need. She was a great listener and a wonderful and dear friend to many. She will be greatly missed by her many friends, including Ceccy, Jane, Gladys, Blossom, her cousin Anne Connelly, Helen, Lenore, Moira, and so many more.
A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, December 10, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at Connelly- McKinley ~ St. Albert Funeral Home, 9 Muir Drive, St. Albert, Alberta, with reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or a charity of your choice. Special thanks to the staff at the University Hospital, Unit 5A2, for the excellent and compassionate care of Mary in her final days.
To send condolences please visit www.connelly-mckinley.com
Published in The Edmonton Journal from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2012