Mary Niland

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Mary Carol Riordan Niland
December 25, 1919 - February 14, 2015
Mary Carol Riordan was born to Benjamin Raphael and Sarah Ida Hurst Riordan in Payette, Idaho on Christmas Day in 1919. Her mother promptly anointed her "The Best Christmas Gift Ever." She passed away at home on Valentine's Day 2015.
In 1920, the family moved to Boise. In 1924, her father was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Owyhee County and Mary, along with her parents and brothers and sisters moved to Silver City. Mary began school there and attended the city school through the fourth grade. In 1929, the Riordans moved to Nampa and Mary attended St. Paul's and Central Junior High before graduating from Nampa High School in 1937. Mary then entered St. Agnes School of Nursing in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, graduating with a Registered Nursing degree in 1940. Following graduation, she provided private duty nursing in West Bend, Wisconsin and in Boise and Nampa prior to moving to New Orleans for employment at Charity Hospital. She loved nursing and enjoyed life in "The Big Easy."
In 1943, Mary enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, believing she would be stationed in Europe with U.S. troops fighting in WWII. While at St. Agnes, she had met John Francis Niland, who joined the Army at the outbreak of the war and Mary hoped to be stationed close to where John was fighting. Instead, she was sent to Bushnell Hospital in Brigham City, Utah, a hospital built for the treatment of Italian and German prisoners of war as well as American soliders. It specialized in treating amputations and was one of the first hospitals to use penicillin. Mary was a member of the penicillin research team and always said she "fought the Battle of Bushnell."
In 1945, at the end of the war in Europe, John returned to the U.S. On August 16, 1945, John and Mary were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise. In December of 1945, Mary was honorably discharged from the service with the rank of First Lieutenant and joined John in Washington, DC, where he was working for the Department of Defense. In 1947, they returned to Nampa and have resided there since.
Mary was an "at home" mother to six children, returning to nursing in 1966 to assure all of her children a college education. She worked for the Office of Economic Opportunity as Nurse Director, providing services for low-income populations. In 1968 she was hired by the State of Idaho as a Nursing Care Reviewer and Consultant and worked in that position until her retirement in 1979. She was a compassionate and highly skilled nurse as well as a powerful advocate for those she served.
She was an active member of St. Paul's Parish, the PTA, a charter member of the local court of the Catholic Daughters of America, and President of the Legion of Mary. She was active in political work, particularly loving her work on the John F Kennedy campaign.
Mary is survived by three sons, Commander John F Niland Jr, USN Ret., T Michael (Theresa) Niland, and Dr. Patrick A Niland, and two daughters, Mary Carol Niland and Maureen (William) Stokes, all of Nampa. Her son Kevin Patrick preceded her in death in 1956, as did her husband John in 2003. She leaves eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Maureen (Zac) Houston, Michelle (Jim) Latham, John F III (Johanna), Sean, Brian, Liam, Kevin, Colin, Keenan, Laika, Gavin, Tessa, and Sebastian. In addition to her son, husband, and parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Richard and Dr. Ben Riordan and her sisters, Peggy Schweizer and Kathleen Rosandick.
Most of all, Mary loved and valued her family and her Catholic faith. She saw those as life's foundation. Without both solidly built and well maintained, there would be nothing to support the structure of one's life. She knew this to be true because they are what sustained her and John through the loss of their son Kevin Patrick, who died at 7 in a playground accident at school.
She leaves those of us who grieve her loss with many gifts, including her strength, the memory of her laughter, humor and wit, her love of animals and gardening, her love of having fun and playing games, including card games and croquet, her competitive spirit and her high value of hard work, but the greatest of those is love of faith and family.
A rosary service will be held Thursday, Feb 26, 2015 at 7 pm at Nampa Funeral Home - Yraguen Chapel, 415 12 Ave S, Nampa. Mass of the Resurrection will be held at 10 am on Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at St. Paul's Catholic Church, 510 W Roosevelt Ave, Nampa.
Memorials may be given to WITCO Foundation, 3919 E Ustick Rd, Caldwell, Idaho, 83605 or to St. Paul's Cemetery Fund, 1515 8th St S, Nampa, Idaho 83686.
"May the strength of God pilot us,
may the wisdom of God instruct us,
may the hand of God protect us,
may the word of God direct us,
Be they always ours this day and evermore."

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Funeral Home
Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel
415 12th Avenue South
Nampa, ID 83651
(208) 442-8171
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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 22, 2015
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