Mary Theresa DeWan

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Mary Theresa DeWan, 85, of Ann Arbor, Mich. passed away peacefully at home in the presence of friends on Feb. 22, 2014.

She was born on Jan. 20, 1929 in Towanda, Pa. to James and Ellen "Nellie" (Rutty) DeWan.

Mary received her initial nursing training at the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. She also earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in Public Health Nursing from the University of Michigan. Mary began her career in public health nursing in Wayne County, Mich., working with young single mothers. She then joined the U.S. Army and served her country for 20 years as a nurse with postings throughout the United States, Germany and Korea. In 1975, Mary tended to the medical needs of Vietnamese refugees from a mobile health clinic (tran te tuu dong) performing what she called "tailgate medicine," seeing over 700 patients per day. A decorated officer, Mary received several medals for Meritorious and Humanitarian Service. The honors Mary won cite her leadership, professionalism, and devotion to duty and her patients. Known for her pragmatic decisiveness, Mary earned the nickname "Get It Done" DeWan. Colonel DeWan retired from the army in 1986.

Mary enjoyed travel, skiing and photography. She was an avid gardener with a particular fondness for roses. A passionate Wolverine, Mary avidly followed Michigan sports and was especially fond of football, basketball and hockey.

Mary is survived by her beloved cat, Lucky Punkin; brother, John Edward (Kathleen) DeWan; nieces, Charlotte (Matthew) Adams and Jennifer (Julian) Velasco; and grandnieces, Meredith and Caroline Adams and Graciela Velasco.

She is preceded in death by her parents and infant brother James.

At Mary's request, there will be no visitation or funeral service. She will be interred in the nurses' section at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors later this year. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to St. Mary's Student Parish, Ann Arbor, Synergy Animal Hospital, Saline, Mich. or Camp Kitty, Brighton, Mich. Please visit Mary's personal webpage to share a memory at

Published in Daily Review on Mar. 4, 2014
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