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Rosa Mary Catherine Forsyth

1918 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Rosa Mary Catherine Forsyth Obituary
Rosa Mary Catherine Mary Kay' Forsyth April 24, 1918 - September 6, 2018 Coronado, California Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, role model and mentor: Mary Kay was all of those, as she passed away in her sleep, 100 years old. Born in Bozeman, Montana, the daughter of Forest Ranger Clyde Phillips Fickes and Kathryn Remigia McCrea Fickes, Mary Kay and her younger brother, James, spent their earliest years following their dad from post to post throughout Idaho and Montana. Eventually the family settled in Missoula. By 1940, Mary Kay was a pre-med student at the University of Montana, with a special interest in Native American health practices. Mary Kay's plans were derailed by a traveling salesman: months after meeting Albert John Chisholm (Bert) Forsyth, they married and settled in Seattle, where Bert played ice hockey and the newlyweds opened Seattle's very first tavern, with Mary Kay managing the finances a natural occupation as she could squeeze three nickels out of a dime. When offered the ownership of an expansion ice hockey team in San Diego, Mary Kay and Bert, with Bert's brother, James, jumped at the opportunity to head south. The brothers coached the new team, San Diego Skyhawks, operated the Glacier Gardens Ice Arena, and Mary Kay managed the finances. The Skyhawks were short-lived, but the Forsyths' tenure in San Diego wasn't. Along with brother Jim Forsyth, Bert and Mary Kay purchased Coronado's Mexican Village, then a bar that served a little food. With the Forsyth brothers front-of-the-house, and Mary Kay in the back office, Mexican Village grew to landmark status in Coronado, especially among Navy families. Mary Kay raised five children, born over three decades: the 40s, 50s and 60s! All five graduated from Sacred Heart School, where Mary Kay was PTA President five times. She was involved with the University of San Diego from its inception, including serving as a Trustee, President of USD Auxiliary, and member of the USD Paralegal Program Advisory Committee. For her service to her church and USD, she was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope Paul VI. After the Mexican Village was sold, in the 1970s, Mary Kay continued her community involvements, including: President of Coronado Soroptimists; Chairman of Coronado Hospital Auxiliary; Bank of Coronado Board of Directors; California State Medical Board; and Charter Member of Voices for Children. Mary Kay was Executive Director of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce, and, later, Executive Director of the San Diego Crime Commission (1990-2000). The latter led to positions with S.D. Crime Stoppers, Metropolitan Corrections Center Advisory Council, and the National Association of Citizens Crime Commission for which she served, at age 80 years, as the first woman President. Mary Kay's contributions to her community were recognized by, among others, Soroptimist International, the YWCA, Coronado Rotary (Community Service Award and Lewis Hardy Memorial Award, Outstanding Citizen), City of Coronado (Keys to the City), and Coronado Soroptimists (Legend of Coronado). It is an understatement to say Mary Kay made good use of her time while she was here. And if she failed to grasp the concept of "stay at home mom," her family would attest that she was a reliable, constant presence. Her organizational skills and energy were such that she was the one who fixed breakfast and got us off to school, and was at home every day when we returned, ready to cook and serve a sit down dinner. If she was ever tired, she wouldn't admit it; and if we caught her napping on the couch, she was "resting my eyes." She was a voracious reader, particularly newspapers and magazines. But what her family will most remember about Mary Kay, this 5'1" redheaded dynamo, is her consistently positive attitude, her sense of fun (always ready for a laugh), and her unwavering support for whatever her offspring wanted to accomplish. Until his death in 2008, Mary Kay was married to Bert for 67 years; she was also predeceased by her son, James Chisholm Forsyth, her parents, her brother and sister-in-law Jim and Rose Fickes, and Bert's brother and sister-in-law James and Yvonne Forsyth. Mary Kay is survived by her children: Kathryn Ashworth (Thomas), Elizabeth Lovell (Gregory), Ronald Forsyth and Gabriele Forsyth; grandchildren Sara Galbraith (John), James Ashworth, Michael Ashworth (Lanie) and Alexandra, Gabriele and Chanel Lovell; great-grandchildren: Jake and Carly Galbraith, Pia and Tiana Ashworth; several nieces and nephews, and her caregivers, Ofelia Gomez and Maribel Melgar. Services for Mary Kay will be private. Donations in her memory may be made to Soroptimist Club of Coronado or Coronado Hospital.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Sept. 16, 2018
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