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  • "We were away when Mary passed away & just recently learned..."
    - Barbara & David Gillanders
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ASHBY, Mary Gates
August 11, 1915 – July 7, 2013
Passed away peacefully in Vancouver, Canada. Mary was born in Seattle, Washington on August 11, 1915 to James Roberts and Helen Marie Fitch Gates. Mary graduated from the University of Washington in 1937 with a degree in Sociology and membership in Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Her senior year was spent at the University of Oregon, hired by the national office of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, to lead and mentor its sorority chapter there. On graduating from the University of Washington in 1937, Mary married John Ashby of Vancouver and moved to Canada the following day.
Mary was a dedicated and loyal wife, mother, daughter and sister as well as a friend who touched the lives of many. She loved art, classical music, opera, gardening and children. Mary was a long-term subscriber to the Vancouver Symphony and a charter and long-term subscriber to the Vancouver and Seattle Operas.
A member of the University Women's Club for 59 years, Mary served as Program Chairman and founded and led the Investment Club for many years. Mary volunteered at the YWCA, helping new widows sort out their financial options.
Always interested in expanding opportunities for women, Mary worked to improve women's property rights under Canadian law. In 1969, she joined the effort to include a non-discrimination clause in Canada's Charter of Rights. In this capacity, Mary chaired the Status of Women and Human Rights Commission of the Vancouver Club and served on the Canadian Federation of University Women Status of Women Committee.
Mary also served on the Mayor's Town Planning Committee for the development of Vancouver's False Creek.
Mary was bright, energetic and committed to helping others and is remembered for her courage, optimism, good sense, radiant smile and zest for life.
Mary is preceded in death by her son, Peter John, her sister Katherine Gates Smith, her brother Lewis Jerome Gates and her husband John Ashby. She is survived by her children James Ashby (Karen), David Ashby (Avril) and Mary Ashby Morrison (Dan) as well as two grandchildren, James Beauregard, Jr. and Christina Marie.
A memorial will be held 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27 at Hycroft, 1489 McRae Avenue, in Vancouver, BC.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from July 26 to July 28, 2013
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