Mary was born on April 2, 1929, just before the Great Depression, and raised on the Maher homestead ranch on the windswept plains near Morristown, SD. As the third of 11 children born to John and Elsie Maher, she was one of only two girls, waiting 16 years for the arrival of a sister. She worked long hours doing cooking, household chores and caring for siblings, which each remembers fondly.
She married William F. Carpenter in 1950, and entered a life revolving around aviation. They had four children; Bill and Karen born in St. Paul, Pat in Pittsburgh KS, and Ken in Peru, South America, where Bill worked as a pilot and mechanic for the Southern Peru Copper Company. In July 1959, while visiting family in the states, Bill died in a plane accident. Widowed at 30 with four young children and all possessions in Peru, she was faced with finding a home and beginning a new life.
Despite a great deal of loving offers of support, she chose to face the challenge of parenting single-handedly, and settled in St. Paul. She kept Bill alive for the kids with rich stories of him and their early life together. She raised her children to be responsible, independent and to stand up to life’s challenges.
She worked multiple jobs to ensure the kids grew up never wanting for anything. She worked for Wendell Ringheim Co., Burner Service and retired from Ecolab in 1999, at age 70. In 2001, she married Dave Gauthier, an old flight school friend of Bill’s and retired NW Airlines pilot. Dave had started the Evergreen Sky Ranch near Enumclaw WA in 1964, where they lived with a backdrop of Mount Rainier, surrounded by friends and the aviation life once again. Dave died in 2006 and she eventually moved to Wesley Homes, Auburn WA. In 2016 she moved to Harvest Gate in Puyallup, WA, near her youngest son, Ken and wife, Sherry, who lovingly cared for her and her home.
Working and raising her children with a firm hand and high expectations, she also made time for dancing, baking and becoming a Master Bridge player. A constant was the kitchen radio playing swing music. Baked goods were legendary, especially at Christmas time. Forty plus years later, son Bill would still check the cookie jar when visiting… and often find some. Until the last month of her life, she always had baked goods for visitors.
She engaged with people, always lending an ear and sage advice. Many people she worked with, friends and friends of her kids would visit and seek her counsel and friendship. She is remembered for her wisdom, exceptionally sharp mind and memory, her love of children, her humor, and notably her delight in signing celebrity names to greeting cards for friends and sending anonymously from around the US. Sharp to the very end, she was an exceptional story teller, easy to laugh, and took great pleasure in her children, grandchildren, siblings, her large extended family and many friends.
She was peacefully delivered into the arms of the Lord, our God, on November 18, 2021 at age 92, at home in Puyallup, WA. She was predeceased by husbands William Carpenter and David Gauthier, parents John and Elsie Maher, brothers John, Mick, Jim, Pat and Vince. She is survived by children Bill (Rose), Karen (John) Gregos, Pat (Kathy), Ken (Sherry) Carpenter; Dave (Kelli) and Jean Gauthier; Michael Maher; brothers Francis, Paul, Jerome and Dan, and sister Rose (Fritz) Dirk; Grandchildren Stacy, Michelle, Dan, Nathaniel, Kevin, Adele, Meghan, Kari, Bill, Wade, Milan and Chase; Great Grandchildren Harper, Crosby, Andy, Keith, Remy, Liam, Sadie, Miles, Bennett; and many nieces and nephews.
Donations in Mary’s memory are welcomed to the American Contract Bridge League Educational Foundation www.acbleducationalfoundation.org/page/support-2.html A special thanks to Hospice for their wonderful support. A Celebration of Life will be held at All Saints Catholic Church in Puyallup, WA on Saturday, Dec 4, 2021 at 10:00 am, followed by a luncheon reception at BJs. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.weeksfuneralhomes.com