Mary Sue Waisman of Fall River passed away peacefully at home June 22, 2014, with her loving family by her side. She was born in Binghamton NY on June 10, 1957 and moved to Syracuse NY a year later. She graduated from Bishop Ludden High School in Syracuse and Seton Hill University in Greensburg PA. She was awarded a fellowship to Yale University for study in Dietetics and Nutrition. At Yale she met and married her beloved husband David and they moved to Canada. Mary Sue managed her own consulting business All About Food Nutrition Consulting. She was served in a professional capacity as the President of Canadian Foundation for Dietetic...
Mary Sue Waisman of Fall River passed away peacefully at home June 22, 2014, with her loving family by her side. She was born in Binghamton NY on June 10, 1957 and moved to Syracuse NY a year later. She graduated from Bishop Ludden High School in Syracuse and Seton Hill University in Greensburg PA. She was awarded a fellowship to Yale University for study in Dietetics and Nutrition. At Yale she met and married her beloved husband David and they moved to Canada. Mary Sue managed her own consulting business All About Food Nutrition Consulting. She was served in a professional capacity as the President of Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, the Manager of Public Affairs for Dietitians of Canada and the chair of the board for the Dietitians of Canada. She was also a lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University and a sessional instructor at Nova Scotia Community College. Mary Sue was also Dietitians of Canada Fellow. She was one of 40 (out of 6000 members)- who has been recognized for their capacity to promote excellence in dietetics and who have demonstrated outstanding professional growth and contributions through educational/professional enhancement, career achievements, initiative/innovation, and leadership in dietetics. Recently, Mary Sue received the Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award for recognition of her ideals and dedication to the profession of dietetics. Mary Sue was an articulate, confident and engaging public speaker. Her presentations always gathered a crowd - whether she spoke of food, family and nutrition, being media savvy, leadership or advocacy. She will be especially remembered for the many people whose lives she touched and turned around. She was always there to help in any way she could. To know her was to love her. Mary Sue is survived by her husband David and loving children, daughter Meredith Grace and son Phillip David. Her parents, Chester and Philomena Malys of Syracuse NY, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins. Her brother Richard (Chris) predeceased her in February 2014, as well as niece Elizabeth Ann and nephew RJ Mayls. Visitation will be held at JA Snow Funeral Home on Tuesday, June 24 from 6-8 pm. Funeral service will be held at St. Rose of Lima on Wednesday, June 25 at 10 am. Father Duncan officiating. A reception to follow at JA Snow Funeral Home starting at 12 noon.
In lieu of flowers donation may be made to Feed Nova Scotia (www.feednovascotia.ca).
Mary Sue Waisman – Eulogy
by Patrick Lee
Mary Sue Waisman – a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, loyal friend, mentor and an all-around wonderful human being.
Mary Sue was a person who truly loved life. She loved people, and she possessed an outgoing and genuinely warm and generous personality that even those who met her for the first time would feel totally welcome into her world.
Her children, Meredith and Phillip, whom she loved dearly, knew that very well. They never hesitated to invite their many friends and acquaintances to their home as they knew their mother welcomed everyone with open arms….the more the merrier.
I first met Mary Sue many years ago in Calgary where David and I were professors at the University of Calgary. My wife Linda and I were fortunate to be invited to their home on a regular basis. Dinners at the Waisman's were always an event – beautifully prepared meals, elegant table settings, candle light and wine and music. Mary Sue obviously put time and effort into making these times together extra special but she never looked upon it as work. It was clear that this was her passion and she absolutely loved doing it.
Mary Sue didn't spend all of her time in the kitchen though. She also loved to shop for beautiful things like wonderful art pieces, purses, shoes, jewellery, fresh food at the market, wines, and one of my favorite things, Scotch, even though to her, it smelled like dirty socks. Thankfully for me, cost was never a deciding factor for her. She would often say, "As long as you enjoy it, it's worth it!" I'm not sure about David, but I absolutely agree with her philosophy.
Mary Sue truly knew how to enjoy life. One of the things that brought her pleasure was her gold Mustang convertible that she loved to drive with the music blaring. I remember one particular cold November evening in Calgary, after enjoying a delicious dinner at their home, Mary Sue decided to take the women out for a spin in her new Mustang. She had some vintage mink coats from relatives that she handed out, and all three women went out for a spin under the stars with the convertible hood down in 20 below weather - the cold wind was blowing through their hair. Even though all three women were freezing, they definitely had fun and a night to remember! Mary Sue had a knack for creating such memorable times like that. She was just so full of life and energy.
The decision to move to Nova Scotia proved to be a very positive one for both Mary Sue and David. They found their dream home in Fall River- it had a large, bright kitchen with plenty of storage space for Mary Sue, and a lake for David to fish and swim in. Their careers looked bright. Mary Sue was in her element! As a cookbook author, President of Dietitians of Canada and sought after speaker, Mary Sue was often heard on CBC radio fielding questions on food and nutrition from listeners all over Nova Scotia. In her upbeat positive fashion, she would always encourage people to follow their passion. Seeing how much joy her passion brought to her life made one realize the wisdom of her advice.
Upon learning of her diagnosis, Mary Sue adopted the motto, "Never give up!". Her journey was not an easy one, but she faced each new challenge with a positive attitude and always made the best of the situation she found herself in. If she couldn't travel any more, she encouraged others to value travel opportunities that came their way and to go for it. If she couldn't cook or bake in the kitchen, she would supervise those who could. If she had to stay in the hospital, she'd help her hospital roommates as much as she could. Throughout her illness, Mary Sue continued to enjoy the company of family and friends. On such occasions, she would always wear her trademark diamond stud earrings, beautiful bracelets and necklaces – that was Mary Sue's style.
At home, Mary Sue enjoyed sitting by her fireplace after dinner. Knowing this, David would offer to turn on the TV channel with the burning fireplace scene instead, just to get a rise out of her. We always enjoyed hearing Mary Sue's quick witted verbal reprimand of David on those occasions, because it reassured us that she had not lost her trademark feistiness!
I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about David. Suffice to say that without David's absolute devotion, love and care, we wouldn't have been able to enjoy Mary Sue's company for as long as we did. He was there every step of the way with her on this very challenging journey, and he did it with patience, selflessness, compassion, and grace. I never heard him complain, not even once. No doubt, Mary Sue would have done the same for him had the situation been reversed. They are a truly an outstanding couple in their love and devotion to each other.
As we gather here today to celebrate Mary Sue's remarkable life, we are reminded of her excellent example of how to live life to the fullest, and help others along the way. Well done, our dear friend. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. You will always be remembered with love and gratitude.
Tribute to Mary Sue Waisman from Dietitians of Canada
Mary Sue and I were destined to have opportunities to connect thru our roles with Dietitians of Canada.
I do want to say a special thank you to David for accepting the lure to bring his research talents (and his family) to Nova Scotia. It set the stage for Mary Sue and me to become good friends as well as close colleagues.
We often travelled across the country to the same gatherings –gatherings that allowed some precious time for shopping. More than once we were together in the airport – working out the issue of overweight luggage. The glorious pasta bowl and platter that adorns the Waisman's beautiful dining room came to Halifax on my lap.
My challenge today is to be brief - Mary Sue's time with Dietitians of Canada spanned decades of leadership. I will focus only on some of the highlights of her impacts in our profession.
In 2005-2007 Dietitians of Canada challenged itself with the need to shape and refine a statement about the preferred future for the dietetics profession.
How fortunate we were to have Mary Sue in the role of Chair of the Board of Directors. Several years of outreach and consultation came to an apex when more than 500 dietitians gathered together in Vancouver.
The stage was set, and there was Mary Sue, as always, decked out in fashionable business attire, and on stage.
Using her media perfect voice (familiar to many of you who listened to Maritime Noon) and her phenomenal skills in facilitation she enabled the profession to arrive at Vision 2020 – a document that is still guiding us.
It struck me at the time that DC not only had Vision 2020 –we also had our own 2020 role model in Mary Sue.
Following Mary Sue's volunteer role as Chair of the Board of Dietitians of Canada, she followed along in her usual role as a 24-hour woman –usually starting at 4 in the morning with a fresh batch of white chocolate – blueberry scones.
Mary Sue managed her own consulting business 'All About Food Nutrition Consulting', accepted the volunteer role as Chair of Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, became DC's first Communications and Public Relations Manager, was a lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University to 1st, 2nd and senior year students and a sessional instructor at Nova Scotia Community College.
During these years she authored her own cookbook 'Flavour First'-delicious food to bring the family back to the table';
co-authored "Simply Great Food" –a bestselling cookbook by Dietitians of Canada and then authored Dietitians of Canada's 'Cook"- a collection of many recipes tested and approved in her beautiful Lake Kinsac kitchen- it was a lasting tribute to her love to Cook . She did this while managing two Dietitians of Canada National Nutrition Month Campaigns that resulted in the biggest media reach in the campaign's more than 30 year history.
The success of the campaign was due totally to Mary Sue's vision, ability to make strategic connections and her personable approach with key media contacts. As a kick-off to Nutrition Month 2007 Mary Sue conducted a cooking demonstration with Federal Minister of Health Honourable Tony Clement – an event publicized on national TV, radio and print.
Marsha Sharp, CEO of Dietitians of Canada noted that and I quote 'To each and every role Mary Sue brought inspiration, passion, excellence and teamwork. Our respect and admiration was bestowed with the Ryley-Jeffs Memorial Award, highest recognition given to a member of the association who exemplifies the ideals of dedication to the profession and has a proven ability to chart new directions in the field of dietetics. '
Lynda Corby, a dear friend and colleague of Mary Sue's wrote about Mary Sue, quoting Robert Browning - "a man's reach should exceed his grasp"
This suggests that to achieve anything worthwhile, a person should attempt even those things that may seem impossible.
Lynda noted 'Impossible' wasn't a word in Mary Sue's vocabulary – she dreams it and makes it happen-a true hallmark of a leader and fitting recipient of the 2012 Ryley-Jeff's Award". And so it was.
Mary Sue's health didn't allow her to deliver her Lecture in person. Instead modern technology was used to channel Mary Sue from Lake Kinsac into an audience of more than 1000 of her peers in Toronto.
We were rewarded with an inspirational story of pioneering, leadership and passion that will forever live in the permanent records of the Association and in the hearts and minds that heard Mary Sue's Memorial lecture. It was a message I will leave with you – on her behalf – Its important to step out and make a difference.
Mary Sue always was ready to step out and make a difference – maybe in running shoes to raise funds for Dietetic Research; maybe in red cowboy boots, or maybe in the finest Italian leather shoes.
Mary Sue had chosen her new Italian shoes to wear at her Ryley Jeff lecture. Determined the shoes would indeed be at the Lecture – she donated them to CFDR to raise funds for dietetic research. Attendees took Mary Sue's message seriously– that day her beautiful shoes brought in hundreds and hundreds of dollars for dietetic research.
Some closing words –again from the team at Dietitians of Canada:
'To Mary Sue's family we are forever thankful that you shared Mary Sue's lifetime so generously with us. We are saddened by your loss and our loss, and offer our condolences in this time of grief. As time moves on, may your grief be replaced by celebration of a life well lived and a person well loved and who loved her life and her family beyond all else.'
As Mary Sue takes her place as an angel on my shoulder I feel compelled to leave you now with an important reminder from her:
Dare to Step Forward, Step Back (and be reflective) or Just Stand Still and Breathe, and most of all cherish one another.
Eulogy--given by Delores Smith on behalf of the "foodies"
We are here today to celebrate the amazing life of a phenomenal woman, daughter, wife, mother, sister, dietitian, chef, mentor, educator, author and devoted friend.
The Foodies, looking back.....
The beginning – July 2008. It started with an article in the newspaper announcing the food competition for the annual Fringe Festival. The Fringe Festival is a showcase for non-main stream theatre and every year they celebrate a specific food; liver was the selection for 2008. Two of the foodies, Jane & I were at a pub well known for liver & onions – so together we decided – liver would be our selection and we would pass on our evaluation to the judging committee. But one testing could never be enough therefore we should check out other food establishments famous for "good" liver and truly participate in this review. Dietitians like to do that in-depth food testing!! Well, the committee of two soon grew with Mary Sue joining in August and before we had completed the "liver review", we were six. Kathleen Martin, Judy Jenkins, Deborah Everett, Jane Pryor, our beloved Mary Sue and myself, proud dietitians and self proclaimed food lovers.
The foodies submitted their evaluation:
>Liver Lovers Nomination to: email@example.com
Five "liver lovers" accepted your invitation to vote for a favorite liver and onions eatery in HRM. We looked for flavor, texture, appearance, serving size and value for the dollar. Our evaluation was also based on the amount of gristle reported by each tester...!! When the winner was posted in the newspaper, our selection was not the one selected but I happened to know one of the panel members so called to inquire about their evaluation process – the Chef said …...."we take on piece of liver, cut it into 5 pieces and each judge tastes, examines the "color" and comments". Well, that hardly seemed like a foodie evaluation.
We had such fun and great conversations; we decided there were other foods worthy of our particular brand of taste testing. In 2009, it was fish cakes; 2010 it was fish & chips; 2011 it was hamburgers with a side trip testing bar-b-q ribs. We travelled to spots we had never anticipated to "taste the best", like Murphy's in Truro and the Farmers Market. To complement our food tasting, Mary Sue often brought along her latest recipe test for her new cookbook and, oh, what willing guinea pigs we were. After a series of specific item taste testings, it was decided, let's just dine! We still analyzed and mulled over items to choose on the menus but it became more about the camaraderie. Jane's on the Common was always a favourite and particularly for Mary Sue.
Some memorable evenings that stood out with the foodies: the night at the Lower Deck when we were invaded by flying ants mating all around us; driving to a foodie's event in the gold Mustang with the top down; discovering the MicMac Tavern and all of its wonders; and who would have thought of seafood chowder laced with black rum....some became regular haunts and some places we would never return to again!
Mary Sue announced at dinner one evening that her hand didn't seem to be working right but no one was prepared for the devastating diagnosis on that day in Nov. 2011. Tina, the tumour, had taken up residence but Mary Sue, in her own style, would soon show her more strength and determination than anyone could possibly imagine. So, after the surgery, it was back to Jane's on the Common sans Tina (or so we hoped) to continue our dining experiences.
In the two and a half years that followed, there were many more foodie dining events. Some took place in hospital family rooms with take out and paper plates but the finest dining occurred at 322 Piggott Avenue in Fall River. This warm, hospitable home was transformed regularly to an "Elegant Restaurant" when Mary Sue's mobility became compromised. There were fabulous meals ranging from an appetizer and dessert evening to 3 course meals to themed events – a Royal Wedding celebration, the Ryley Jeffs brunch, with the all time favourite being the Italian Night with recipes from Mary Sue and her Mom's collection. Everyone contributed to the menu design and preparation but Mary Sue always supervised the finishing touches. Desserts were always plentiful from Mary Sue's kitchen and always bore her mark of creativity. The dining room table frequently looked as if someone from the royal family was about to join us. We dined on the finest of china trimmed in 14 karat gold which was just one of the sets available to us. Mary Sue inherited that love of dishes from her mother who had worked for Syracuse China and has many a set of fine china herself. It was always a relief to have Jane & David jump up from the table to do dish duty as the rest of us did not want to be responsible in the event of breakage. That would have been criminal! Now please understand when I say elegant dining, I mean with one of over 100 tablecloths from Mary Sue's collection to choose from, a collection of candles and candle holders including candelabras and serving dishes collected during travels far and wide. Mary Sue was indeed a collector with great taste. The dining conversation was as varied and delightful as our meals and we so enjoyed having David join us as our robust discussions went from food, wine and travel to health and politics and anywhere in between.
Speaking of David, the foodies would be remiss if we did not acknowledge this dedicated, compassionate, caring husband who has been by Mary Sue's side constantly. His caring attitude goes beyond what any words could convey. He has truly been Mary Sue's rock. To the rest of the foodies, he is our honourary member.
Mary Sue was also a kind and generous friend who often had treats and gifts for us. From a simple container of candy hearts for Valentine's Day, chocolate for sharing or a glorious gift bag at Christmas filled with sticky toffee pudding, a beautiful serving plate, napkins and specially chosen cookbooks. In typical Mary Sue style, each gift unique to the recipient and beautifully presented. She was not one to do anything by half measure.
Before I close, I would like to read a paragraph from an article appearing on the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada website – Hope Lives: Mary Sue's Story.
"With a career focused on making nutrition come alive through food, Mary Sue has spent her career educating and inspiring professionals and families. She believes that when we nourish our bodies with delicious food, while connecting around the dinner table, we build our most important relationships and connections. It is through "walking this talk" that Mary Sue has built a strong personal network and a lifestyle of gratitude and optimism.
So, Mary Sue, you are no doubt organizing a fabulous dining experience in your new life rounding up friends and loved ones alike. As requested by David, your foodie friends came together to review and oversee the catering for your celebration meal and we hope you approve. Chocolate has been included to help tip the scale in our favour! Thank you for being such a dynamic part of our lives.