Mary D. Siedow
1942 - 2017
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Mary Dunn Siedow


Mary Dunn Siedow died Friday, July 7, 2017 surrounded by her loving family in Durham, NC from cancer.

Mary was born to Daniel James and Cecilia Marie (Schilling) Dunn in Watertown, SD on March 21, 1942, and was baptized Mary Kathryn in Immaculate Conception Church in Watertown. She attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School and graduated from Watertown High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the College of Saint Teresa, Winona, MN and her Master of Science (1969) and Doctor of Education (1973) degrees in literacy education from Indiana University Bloomington, IN.

While in graduate school she met and married James N. Siedow in 1970. Their careers took them to Ann Arbor, Michigan and Houston, Texas before they settled permanently in Durham, NC in 1976. Mary was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham since that time.

Mary's satisfying career had two primary emphases, the first in K-12 literacy education and the second in adult literacy education. She was a teacher educator at the University of Houston and NC State University, where she focused on the teaching of reading in secondary school content areas. She worked in school administration in MI and NC (and taught in secondary schools in MN and NC). She switched emphasis to adult literacy education to become the first Executive Director of the Durham Literacy Center from 1987 to 1994, after which she was the Director of NC Literacy Resource Center, a service agency to literacy practitioners across the state of NC. She held this position from 1994 until her retirement in 2002.

Mary was the author of a number of articles published in professional journals and made over 100 presentations at professional conferences. She co-authored monographs on secondary school reading and on adult literacy practices. She served on a team that designed "Voyager", a basic literacy series for adult beginning readers and authored the student books in the series. In addition, she made presentations at literacy conferences over the years.

In the final years of her working career, Mary was a member of a national team, Equipped for the Future, which focused the attention of adult literacy practitioners on a standards approach to literacy within the context of student participation in their own learning. She co-authored, "Teaching Adults to Read with Understanding," a specific project within Equipped for the Future that focused specifically on the teaching of reading.

Mary served on several boards in Durham and elsewhere, including Durham Literacy Center, Friends of Duke Libraries, Durham Art Guild, the Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute for Women.

Mary is survived by her husband of 46 years, James N. Siedow; two brothers, Michael (Donna) Dunn of Kellogg ID and Paul (Mary Beth) Dunn of Syracuse NY, and a sister Louise ( Dunn) Swanson, of Lubbock, TX, ten nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother in law, Ed Swanson.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered 11:00 a.m. Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with Father Chris VanHaight, OFM, presiding. Friends may visit with the family prior to mass from 10:00-11:00 in the daily chapel.

After mass a brief reception will be held in the church's Gathering Space from 12:00-12:45. Burial will follow in St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Durham Literacy Center, 1905 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, NC 27707; Duke Cancer Institute, 20 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710; or Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 810 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC 27701.

Arrangements for the Siedow family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham. On-line memorials: Select obituaries.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in & The News and Observer on Jul. 11, 2017.
Memorial Gathering
12:00 - 12:45 PM
In the church's Gathering Space
10:00 - 11:00 PM
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church - daily chapel
Mass of Christian Burial
11:00 AM
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Hall-Wynne Funeral Service & Crematory
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4 entries
July 31, 2017
Our condolences, a great lady.
Jon and Donna Siedow
July 13, 2017
Mary was a wonderful friend and classmate back in Watertown. She had many talents and use them for such good. Rest In Peace Mary.
Mary Tobin Lyngen i
July 11, 2017
Dear Jim,
It was with great sadness that we learned about Mary's death. We have fond memories of our interactions with both of you, while we still lived in the Netherlands.
Marion and I wish you strength in these difficult times and send you our heart-felt condolences.
Hans & Marion
Hans & Marion Lambers & Cambridge
July 11, 2017
Mary will be missed by many people. May you find comfort from the words at psalm 90:10.
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