Mary Lou Padbury passed away gently at the age of 94 in her cottage on Orcas Island on Dec. 31, among her family and within the extended circle of her many friends – a long and blessed life.
Mary Lou was born in Omaha, Nebraska, spent her early years on a farm in Wilbur and became a University of Nebraska “Cornhusker” – a prelude to her “12th man” membership for her beloved Seahawks. At the beginning of WWII, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps and reached the rank of Buck Sergeant in the Third Air Division in England. It was while on a train traveling through the English countryside that she met her future husband, Bob, who had just completed his 25 missions in a B17. They married in England during the war and were there on D-Day. They were both proud members of the “Great Generation.”
In their long life together, they had four children – Elaine, Jim, Mark, and Julie – 11 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. They lived in Helena, Montana, Tustin, California and retired in Port Townsend, Washington. Following Bob’s death in 1995, Mary Lou moved to Orcas Island in 2004.
During these last 11 years of her life on the island, she spent many wonderful hours volunteering at the senior center and utilizing extensively the Orcas Island Library –two special places that mirrored so well the areas of baking and reading, which she loved, among friends she honored.
Being one of the few remaining in her generation, she welcomed all from her heart for visits and outings, for chats and shared laughter. We, her family and friends, will always remember not only those moments but especially her – in gratitude and love.
A celebration of Mary Lou’s life will take place on Friday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Orcas Island Senior Center. In lieu of flowers, any donations to the Orcas Island Public Library would be greatly appreciated. They can be sent to the Orcas Island Public Library, 500 Rose Street, Eastsound, Wash. 98245.