Mary Elizabeth Gugich was born in Tacoma, WA on February 8, 1965. She grew up in Baton Rouge and was graduated from Baton Rouge High and LSU. She loved both schools and the life-long friends she made there. Mary received a master's degree in Russian from the University of Oregon and was awarded her MEd. from Portland State University. She excelled as a teacher and was proud of the achievements of her ESL students. After residing in Oregon for 15 years, she returned to Louisiana where she continued her work in education. Mary received many awards and citations from the Louisiana Department of Education for helping to improve graduation rates and to ensure career and college readiness. Mary was a wonderful wife and mother. She was ever patient, enthusiastic and loving. She showed a zest for life in everything she did: from the home-birth of both children to the way she planned and led us on many international adventures. Her love of good books lives on in her family. We will never forget the novels she read aloud to us. Her love of the ocean was unbounded: whether swimming, scuba diving, boogie boarding or just lounging on the beach, she was at home. She taught us to embrace life, to pursue our dreams and to find that the greatest joys are those we share. Mary's long battle with cancer is summed up in her favorite quote from the Power Puff Girls: "Being brave is not being fearless, it is being able to do what needs to be done no matter how scared you are." Mary was a tireless fundraiser for breast cancer research and earned many recognitions including being named Ms. Baton Rouge Komen and being the top local fundraiser for "Race for the Cure". She was the heart of Team Dempsey's and a survivors' support group which she started with women from across the country. She will be sorely missed by her family and by the many friends who loved and respected her. Mary passed away on January 27th 2014. Preceded in death by her father George Gugich, she is survived by her husband, Steven Babcock; two children, Ilana Gugich and Nolan Babcock; mother and step-father Helen and Ross Headlee; siblings, Karen Gugich, George Gugich and wife Tonya, John Gugich and wife Shannon; nephews George E. Gugich and wife Madeline, Benjamin Gugich and nieces Milese Gugich, Catherine Gugich and Addison Gugich. Special thanks to the staff of Mary Bird Perkins and Dr. David Hanson. A celebration of Mary's life will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday March 22, 2014 at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, 8470 Goodwood Blvd. The Reverend Dr. Steve Crump and Rev. Nathan Ryan will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to BreastCancer.Org.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from Mar. 14 to Mar. 16, 2014