Feb. 20, 1949 – Dec. 26, 2017
Mary lived an examined life with great passion and a true spirit of adventure. She had careers in the fields of social work and education and traveled extensively throughout the world. She loved to play tennis, swim, hike, canoe, raft, ski and surf—any sport that brought her outdoors where she could drink in the richness and beauty around her. This is evidenced by her life chapters in San Diego, California, Kauai, Hawaii, Seattle, Washington, Pohnpei, Micronesia, the San Juan Islands (Orcas Island), Olympia, Washington, and finally along the beautiful Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon. Her home with her husband, Jim and son, Will, was a continuous gathering place for visiting family and friends, offering great meals, conversation and outdoor adventures where love was all around.
Mary treasured her personal and professional relationships, which resulted in a wide circle of friends, including a unique cadre of women who were like sisters to her. Mary was a great conversationalist, listener and advisor. Her friends were deeply connected to her by phone, visits to each other’s homes, travel adventures, and celebrations. She was always present during friends’ life challenges. Mary leaves behind deep love and attachments that reverberate over time and distance.
Mary Wolfe Hewitt was born in San Francisco on February 20, 1949 to William and Mary Myers and grew up in the Bay Area. She was educated at the University of California, Berkeley (B.A.1971) and San Diego State University (Master’s in Social Work, 1980) and was a licensed Mediator (NW Institute of Family Mediation, 1993). During her career, she counseled runaway and homeless youth, domestic violence survivors, refugees, and couples and families in crisis. As a mediator, Mary specialized in family law, workplace and community mediation and dispute resolution. She taught sociology, psychology, and anthropology at the College of Micronesia (Pohnpei), Skagit Valley College (Washington), and Central Oregon Community College (Bend, Oregon).
Her enduring achievement was being a model of selflessness, a highly skilled social worker, and a true advocate to the vulnerable people she served professionally. As a community college instructor, she effectively engaged students to acquire a love for learning through her interactive teaching style. She was able to make coursework applicable to their everyday lives and create excitement about learning.
Mary lived her life fully, intentionally, generously, and with great courage. Her sensitivity, compassion, intellect, loyalty and humor were felt by an extensive network of family, friends, colleagues and students. Mary was deeply respected and loved. She is survived by her husband, Jim Fox (Bend, Oregon), her son, Will Hewitt Symons (Moscow, Idaho), her mother, Mary Myers (Portland, Oregon), her step-daughter Amy Symons Burke (Josh Burke) of Oakland, California, and her step-son, Johnny Symons (William Rogers) of Oakland, California. She is also survived by Joe Symons (father of Will Symons) of Orcas Island, her brothers, Bill Myers (Portland) and Greg Myers (San Francisco), and by her step-grandchildren Finley and Vivian Burke, Zachary and Kenyon Symons-Rogers as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.