Friday, March 31, 2023

Mourning Mary













Mary Bess Faris  




I didn't meet Mary Bess Faris until about 17 years ago.  She was the partner of the father of my partner's best pal from medical school.  And it was then that we started having Sunday Brunch with at  least the five of us... Dan, his son Steve, my partner Dana, and Dan's partner Mary.

I knew Mary as a potter.  She would show her beautiful works at the Food Coop every year when they would have that wonderful arts and crafts show in their parking lot.  Her work was delicate and lovely, much like she was.

Actually Mary met Dan through Dan's two sons, Steve and Ross.  But make no mistake about it, Dan and Mary were the kind of late-in-life couple that you loved to be around.  They would go out with us to all kinds of events. We would take them to concerts, even outdoor events with dancers swinging from on high with all kinds of gear and tackle.  They even showed up with a gift for a Quiñceanera party for Dana's dog Misha. They were game.

We traveled a little with them.  One trip to  upper New York State was particularly enjoyable as we enjoyed the upper Hudson River Valley where the Vanderbilts and the Roosevelts had their summer places.  We spent a good amount of time at FDR's home and presidential library.  It was not only the first, it was a working library and office for the four term president.

On occasion, we went to their quaint cabin on the Guadalupe River just north of San Antonio.  There, Dan and Mary lived for parts of many years in that cacophony of buildings that Dan had created.  And it was right down on the river, or as close as you would want to be given the nature of Texas rivers.  They could bathe and shower outside and watch the time roll by. It was funky but nice.

Up until the pandemic, Mary and Dan were about as active as two octogenarians can be.  They would hike in Big Bend, sometimes at their land out there. Mary was good with plants and trees and she knew them well with the aid of her luminous mind and quiet but powerful intellect.

And along with Dan and Dana,  it was Mary and I that responded to the infamous tree report that called for the removal of almost every one of your favorite trees at Barton Springs Pool.  I will always remember Mary and I walking the grounds marking each tree scheduled for removal with a small but official looking sign and iridescent surveyor's tape.  She carried a clipboard with a list of the tag numbers of the endangered trees. I  would read the tag number, Mary would check it off on the clipboard, and then we would wrap the tree with our signage.

Midway through the process, the manager of the Pool came over and asked what we were doing and that we were freaking people out.  I said I was with the City  (the utility) and that these trees were scheduled to be removed and part of good government is communicating these plans to the public in a timely, effective way.  The manager said, "OK good."

But the bulk of our time together was in our weekly brunches.  Almost every Sunday we met at noon at  various Mexican Food restaurants.  We started out on north Burnet Road at Elsie's, but over the years, we met south at El Meson, and later in central Austin at Santa Rita.  Occasionally, we would even go to the venerable classic Green Pastures.

Mary would almost always eat a bean chalupa or enchilada-like something, but she wasn't too proud to not eat some chips and queso.  We would talk for hours, almost always about the condition of our politics, be it local or national.  Every subject was on the table, and Mary would almost always listen except for when she did speak. And it was always worth the wait.

Mary's partner, Dan, was and is quite a thinker.  He retired young from his career in law, and became a Siddhartha for the last third of his life.  I would always joke that Dan spent the last 30 years looking for God, when he was partnered with the actual Oracle from the Matrix.

Mary was so special.

And we all knew it.

Normally I would post the official obituary at this point, but Dan sent me some hand written notes instead.

Mary Bess Faris was born in Houston on October 22, 1933.  After graduating from High School, she went to Baylor for a couple of years.  There she  married Douglass Hanson who she met in High School. She then went out to San Diego State and managed to have two daughters, Linda and Jan who were born in 1954 and 1956. When she returned to Houston, she had a son, David, on October 2, 1960 in wedlock with Bob Turner in 1959.

She graduated from the University of Houston and then got her Masters Degree at UTMB Galveston while living in  La Marque. Over the next 15 years, she worked in labs and other institutions like MD Anderson. And she also studied microbiology at the Med school in Galveston in the late 60's.

90 years is a good long run and how fortunate Dan and Mary were to find each other as the millennium turned.

And how fortunate those of us who had brunch with her almost every Sunday were to know her serene, quiet, yet knowing presence.

Mary had been getting weaker and weaker over the last few years.  She had to keep her oxygen handy, but she didn't make a peep about it.

We saw her less and less as the Time of Covid wore on.  The last time I saw her, we walked her out to the swimming pool so we could celebrate Dan's 90th in September and her 90th to come as the Sun moved from Libra into Scorpio.

As the Spring peaked its head out, we heard that she had gone into the hospital.  A few days later on March 14th, one of her favorite doctors stopped by to check on her.  He found her growing even weaker, so he called Dan.  

And there with Dan on the phone, the Oracle passed.

"Mary passed this morning at 9:33 am while I was on the phone with Dr. Wolf at her bedside. 

No rehab, no hospice , no more palliative care , as Steven put it,  

Mary retired undefeated."   Dan Crow






Mary's service will be this Wednesday, April 19th at 10:00 AM  at Oakwood Cemetery just east of I 35 and 16th street.



Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha you tube channel  

Earthfamilyalpha Content IV 

Earthfamilyalpha Content III

Earthfamilyalpha Content II
Earthfamilyalpha Content


Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger oZ said...

Mary's service will be this Wednesday, April 19th. I got this from Dan

Wednesday 10am April 19, 2023 at Oakwood Cemetery. Enter 16th off north bound access of IH 35 pass the chapel on the left and turn left on first hard surface road and follow the signs. Jan was told that there would be a tent but only a dozen chairs so you might want to bring a chair. Mary’s favorite charity was the American Refugee Committee /Alight Human Institution .

10:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home