Above and beyond the biographical details that will follow, two characteristics defined our mom: unwavering faith in Christ and God, and deep profound love for her family. Her faith gave her the strength to deal with the extreme challenges in her life, while maintaining her laughter and sense of humor. Her love of family sustained her and enriched us beyond measure. That faith and love also tempered the steel core within her.
When we were young, our mom's needs and challenges seemed like a burden. We are blessed that she was with us long enough, for us to learn that they were only the wrapping around the sacrificial love she had for us. She protected us from all she endured, and for that we are forever grateful. Despite her trials, she found humor in everyday life.
When Mary Lois Aitken walked into the room, those in her company felt energy and enthusiastic spontaneity. This was just one example of who Mary was and how she impacted those around her. Mary was a clever and gregarious person who always sought out the finest attributes in other people. It was as if Mary wanted to share all of their experiences, revel in their lives and celebrate their discoveries. Mary boundless enthusiasm would serve her well throughout her life.
She was the daughter of Harry and Edna Charles. Mary was raised in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Always ready to laugh at a good joke (or even a bad one), she grew up to be quite a humorous person. While some who knew Mary might describe her as an idealist, her friends and family understood well that Mary was always in pursuit of positive connections with other people.
Mary was raised with one sibling, and she only discovered the second one later in life. She had a twin sister, Melba and an older half-brother, Don. Mary was very accepting and supportive of her family. She was perceived as the person in her family who kept life lively. These traits served Mary well in her adult life and, along with her wit, outgoing personality, and understanding of others. She drew the admiration of many who knew her.
As a young girl, Mary was her twin's shadow. This quality drew her into a diverse group of friends and acquaintances. Mary was spunky and had little trouble getting along with her peers. In her spare time, she liked playing with her dogs. One of Mary's memorable achievements included surviving the "Great Depression". Mary found amusement with almost any activity.
During her high school years, Mary struggled but stuck with it because of her sister. Mary was not a very good student, and generally had to work incredibly hard to pass her courses. She graduated high school in 1945.
With a talent for making acquaintances easily which in turn brought her an endless stream of friends, Mary was very sociable and could join into any social group. Assertive and outgoing, Mary was easy to know and demonstrated a deep concern for others. She always seemed aware of what was going on with the moods of people around her and throughout her life she made many, friends. While growing up, her best friend was her twin sister, Melba. Later in life, she made friends wherever she went, but her golden years at Providence Elder Care were her favorites.
On May 12, 1962 Mary married Richard William Aitken at the Highpoint grounds in West Seattle. Mary's skill at "building bridges" played an important role in her ability to help her family deal with her adult illnesses. Mary was tenderhearted and sensitive, qualities that served her well in helping to nurture her family.
For Mary, parenting was a particularly enjoyable and pleasurable part of her life. She always wanted more for her children than she herself had. Mary's was skilled at understanding her children's feelings and was sensitive to their needs. Her neediness combined with her tough side taught her children to deal with any situation that might come up. Mary was blessed with three children: two daughters, Laura and Wendy, and one son Ross.
Mary was uplifted by new ideas and was excited by life's possibilities, traits that made her a hard worker. Her primary occupation was being a homemaker. She was employed for just a few years with "Ma Bell" as a telephone operator.
Because Mary loved to have a broad variety of activities in her life, she occasionally took advantage of the opportunity to pursue hobbies. Her favorite pursuits were paint by number when she was a homemaker and Bingo after the kids were grown. However, Mary's ever-present concern for others always took precedent over any hobby or activity.
Because Mary was constantly in the center of things she regularly got involved in church activities. Mary's gift of for gab and appreciation of others' efforts, made her a great asset. She volunteered at the Queen Anne Senior Center as her children grew into adulthood. Mary was a woman who was dedicated and devoted to her faith. She was a member of the United Methodist Church most of her life.
Mary's didn't get to travel much, but she was always excited about seeing changing scenery and constantly looking for the enjoyment life could offer, Mary took her vacations seriously, well, as seriously as she possibly could. Favorite vacations included trips to Victoria, BC and staying at the Empress Hotel.
Mary was a lover of animals and cherished her pets. She had two cats that she loved dearly, Snowball and Brooks, they were best friends for 8 or 10 years. In her youth, she had at least two dogs, an Irish Setter and a lab mix. However cats were more suited for city living when she was an adult.
She adapted and, like everything in her life, made her often difficult circumstances satisfying. Because she was such a flexible person and able to adjust to any situation, retirement was just another enjoyable change of pace for Mary to master. In her golden years, she loved her Providence luncheons, physical therapy and Bingo of course. Mary continued to stay in touch with her old friends and like always, made plenty of new ones.
Mary endured many ailments that left her immobile and in great pain, but her passing was gentle and peaceful. She is survived by her children, Laura, Wendy and Ross; and her grandchildren, Felicia, Joey, Tiffany, Kayla, Jessica, Madison, Sean, Macy, Michael and Ryder. Services will be held at Yarington's Magnolia Chapel on Monday, August 1, 2011. Mary will be laid to rest in Tahoma National Cemetery with her husband, Rick. We know they rest in peace.