Mary Alice McLean Thrush (age 88) passed away peacefully, in the presence of family, on December 9, 2019 at the Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, IL after a prolonged struggle with the consequences of cerebral aneurysm suffered in 1996. Born to Hugh Alpine McLean and Elizabeth West McLean, Mary grew up in North Tonawanda, New York, outside of Buffalo. She was the second of four sisters, and attended the Buffalo Seminary, and then Smith College.
Prior to that traumatic event, Mary had been a leading businesswoman in Lincoln Park and a loving mother to her three children. Mary's first job with IBM launched both her career and her marriage. It was at IBM in Endicott, NY that she met and married George Herbert Thrush III. The two moved to Chicago in 1959 and were married for 62 years.
Upon moving to Chicago in the 60's, Mary became actively engaged in charitable and community service both at the Junior League, the Rehab Institute of Chicago, and later the Lincoln Park Conservation Association (LPCA), as a formidable member working to help support the renaissance of Lincoln Park, which was on the cusp of a resurgence.
After raising her three children, Mary redirected her career to focus on real estate development and sales. She and her husband–among the first to see the development potential of the Lincoln Park and DePaul neighborhoods–formed Brown Bird Development and oversaw the transformation of many Victorian buildings. Eventually, she started her own real estate brokerage firm, Mary Thrush Real Estate, and thrived through the 1970s and 80s as a sole proprietor, providing all of her clients with highly personal service.
Her beauty, grace, hard work, and good humor allowed Mary to thrive in her adopted home of Chicago, where she and George lived in Lincoln Park for over fifty years. She was perhaps best known as true friend and mentor to other women in business, just as the workplace was changing. Mary was active in The Church of Our Savior on Fullerton Avenue, and saw to it that her children were given exposure to the Episcopal faith early in their lives.
Mary is survived by her loving husband George Herbert Thrush III; her three children George Herbert Thrush IV, Blair Thrush Lele (Milind Lele), and Anne Thrush Newman (James Newman); her six grandchildren Alexander Thrush, Hari Hugh Lele, Alice Anne Lele, Elizabeth Gita Lele, Leila McLean Newman and Piper Allen Newman; and her three sisters Jean McLean Bostwick, Margaret McLean Caywood, and Catherine McLean Eagleson.
Visitation Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 10:00 a.m. until time of Funeral Service 11:00 a.m. at Church of our Savior, 530 W Fullerton Parkway, Chicago, Illinois 60614 with a reception following.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 269 Hanover Street, Hanover, MA 02339.