I Lost My Biggest Fan

Bubba died in June. It was horrible and sad and beautiful. I lost my mom who was my biggest fan and Thorin lost his best friend. Everyday we are grateful for the time we had.

We had two celebration of life ceremonies both here and in her beloved Wisconsin.She was adamant she did not want a funeral.

The following is from her obituary:

Mary died peacefully surrounded by family in June  at the home of her daughter, Kari, son-in-law Ward and her grandson Thorin.

Also present were her son Bob, her daughter Betty, and her son-in-law Matt.

mom-peaks-island-1999

Mary, Peaks Island, Maine, 1999

Mary was born in Wisconsin. She married “Monk” Wagner– who preceded her in death. Aside from Robert, Kari and Betty she had a son Peter who died shortly after birth.

Mary grew up on Water Street and lived there for over 70 years—including working at her family’s grocery store on the corner of Water St. and 6th Avenue. She was fiercely protective of the West Side neighborhood she loved. In the 1970’s after reading an op-ed in the local paper deriding Water Street as the other end of Summit Avenue, she wrote a rebuttal to the author defending her neighborhood, signing it: “The Rebel of Water Street.”

She worked for the school district for decades, retiring as the Registrar. In the 1980’s she and a group of teacher aides advocated successfully to join the AFL-CIO.

Mary was raised a Lutheran. She taught Sunday school for several years. She put a small sign over the door of her classroom with the words: The Annex, a reference from “The Diary of Anne Frank.” During the course of the year her students were required to read the book.

She was an athlete who played competitive tennis and golf. She established great friendships and played in many guest day tournaments, even securing a coveted hole-in-one.

Mary placed a premium on her friendships, some that spanned over 60 years. She is remembered for her sympathetic ear, her terrific sense of humor and her gift for storytelling. She was a voracious reader, a lover of film and enjoyed painting, arts and crafts and knitting.

In 2011, Mary moved from Wisconsin to Maine to be with Thorin and her daughters. Mary said her most favorite role in life was being Thorin’s “Bubba.” She was an active member of the book club, joined in weekly card games and volunteered at Partners for World Health, an organization that sends medical personnel and supplies to countries in need.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her son, and her siblings: Robert, James, Richard, Betty and Jerome. She is survived by her children, grandson, her daughter-in-law Amy, her sister-in-law Nancy as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews and many dear friends.

For a bit more on Thorin and Bubba:  Sometimes It Bites: The 6 Ways My Mother and Son Are Alike

This entry was posted in Down syndrome by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a blogger, writer & social justice storyteller who unschools with her son. She also has a M.S.W. and was at various times a practicing social worker, documentary videographer and film festival director She is the author of Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald, Parents, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Follow her on Twitter @atypicalson and like her at Not Always Happy Facebook page. Email her: atypicalson@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “I Lost My Biggest Fan

  1. I can feel the true love that your mother gave to others, especially the love among three of you (your mother, Thorn and you). Meanwhile, it really is a great loss.

  2. I have so loved reading about the wonderful Bubba….I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. How is Thorin doing in light of the loss? You guys will be in my thoughts during this time of grief.

    • Oh thank you! My mom loved knowing people read about she and Thorin:) Thorin is heartbroken and grieving but also living life excited to at the beach, with family, friends. We have been so impressed– he has handled it better than some adults in the picture. He and Bubba got to spend some great moments together up to the end.

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