Mary Tracy

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  • "Heaven is a brighter place today because of Mary. She will..."
    - Max & carolyn Lewis
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Mary Louise Tracy
July 3, 1923 - December 8, 2016
Mary Louise Sumner Tracy, 93, died December 8, 2016, at a local hospital with her husband of over two-thirds of a century at her bedside. Among the last words she was heard to whisper were "I love you, Jesus" several times.
Mom was born at home in St. Petersburg, Florida, on July 3, 1923, to Ruth Naomi Eby and Robert Luther Sumner, Sr., their only daughter. When she was quite young the family moved to Miami where she was raised. An early memory of her's was sitting with her brothers in the rumble seat of a Ford car with her parents in the front.
In 1942 she graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Miami, where she had been chosen to read the Bible in her home room. She graduated with a diploma in nursing from Jackson Memorial Hospital in the spring of 1945.
She later traveled west to further her education at then Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa (BSN 1949). During the first winter in Idaho Mom found out how cold snow is, and exchanged her sandals for shoes and boots. She found employment at the Samaritan Hospital and later as NNC's school nurse. She also met her future husband, a local veteran named Joe Tracy when he noticed she was wearing a sweater that matched one that had been given him. They were married in Miami January 14, 1950. A couple months later they loaded a '47 Ford station wagon (the "wood pile") and drove to Seattle, where she was very instrumental in Joe's earning his PhD. They had four children while living there and made many life-long friends.
The family moved to Nampa in 1960 where Dad was a professor of chemistry for 10 years, and Mom worked at the old Mercy Hospital and again at the Samaritan Hospital with her beloved boss and nursing director Mrs. Gladys Kinzler, "Mrs. K." She always said it was her favorite nursing job. She was again the NNC school nurse until her 5th child was born. While busy raising a family she volunteered for (among other things) Red Cross blood drives, camp nurse at old Victory Cove Camp on Payette Lake, helping with the care of neighbors in the days before home health services, and always available for informal consultations with far-flung family and friends. When her children were all in school she worked at then Midland Manor Nursing Home and taught nurse's aide classes in Caldwell in the early 1970's. She returned to hospital nursing at the then Mercy Medical Center in Nampa in 1980, where she worked with many nursing students and precepted many new nurse employees. She retired in 1996 at age 73 to care for her mother.
Education was very important to Mom. She refused to allow TV in the house in the early years because she believed it would interfere with her children's reading habits and attention spans. She was active in PTA and was the PTA president some years. But she didn't hesitate to pull her children out of school to take them to the capitol in Boise in pre-freeway days to see important bills discussed in the legislature and in committee. She also took us out of school to see every US POTUS candidate that came to campaign.
She and her husband sponsored a Laotian refugee family during the "boat people" era and followed thru to the 2nd generation. She 'kept track of' people and always seemed to know what they needed and what they could do for themselves. Mom liked to visit and was a good listener. She was a loving and available substitute grandma for many children who were part of the former bus ministry of College Church of the Nazarene.
Mom was a radio fan and she often had one with her. A lasting radio impression was hearing of the death of President Roosevelt and listening to the coverage of the procession moving his body from Warm Springs to Washington DC.
We will miss her constant reminders of the consequences of preservatives, junk food, tap water, etc. we will miss her pronouncements on church music, especially the use of drums. We will miss her stories of what nursing used to be like: stainless steel bedpans; no chux; yes, she sharpened needles; no, RNS were not allowed to start IVs when she first came here. We will miss her discussions about politics and her reminders that everyone should vote. We will miss her prayers for family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Ralph, a toddler; her brother, Rev. Robert Luther Sumner, Jr.; her oldest child, Laurel Tracy-Falk and her second child, Stephen, at birth.
She is survived by her husband, Joseph, children: Daphne, of Nampa, Walter (Pam), of Bethany, OK; Garland Bradburn (Tim), of Spokane; Heather Wright (David), of Caldwell, ID; son-in-law, Steve Falk (Agnes) of Avalon, CA; brother, Donald of Mt. Juliet, TN; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The family wants to thank Dr. Tricia Keefe, MD, hospitalists: Dr. Steven Pontickio and Dr. Greg Thompson, the staff at St. Luke's Meridian ICU, and 6th floor Medical who gave Mom such loving care in her last days.
A memorial service will be held February 7th at 2:00 PM at the College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. Memorial gifts in Mom's honor may be made to Hands of Hope Northwest, 1201 S. Powerline Rd, Nampa, ID 83686 or Remembrances may be left for the family online at

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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 4, 2017