Mary Lenora (Watkins) Stewart
July 8, 1923 ~ November 28, 2021
Mary was born in Tillamook, Oregon to Edward "Ted" Watkins and Hazel Shaw Watkins. The eighth of 10 children, she lost her mother when she was just seven years old. Her father instilled in her the need to always be able to take care of herself and not rely on anyone. This set Mary’s life trajectory of being fiercely independent. Mary left Tillamook after graduating from Sacred Heart Catholic High School and went on to create her own adventures up and down the west coast.
In her 20’s, Mary and her brother Jim owned The Red Hare bar in NW Portland, where she said men would come in for a drink or two after work before heading home to their wives and kids. It was truly a different era.
She married Jerry Stewart in 1961, a union that lasted 57 years until Jerry’s death in 2018. Mary was a devoted wife who enjoyed the many painting tasks Jerry assigned to her on his construction jobs, including the home they built for themselves in Mulege, Mexico.
Mary could cook like no other. In fact, she had her own successful catering business for many years. While her claim to fame would be catering Bruce Springsteen’s first wedding, she will always be remembered for lovingly bestowing the virtue of hospitality on her nieces and nephews as she hosted showers, receptions and dinners on so many occasions.
A longtime volunteer for the Portland Rose Festival Junior Court, Mary served as a driver, mentor and occasional on-stage interviewer. She also sang in the Our Lady of the Lake choir for many years.
Mary took great care of herself, never took vitamins or other remedies, was spry and witty and always had a good story. After Jerry died three years ago, she agreed it was time to move to The Springs retirement community. She made her nieces swear to never speak of her age to other residents, “they can read my obituary - and they can do the math!"
While the pandemic curtailed her ability to attend weekly Mass, she prayed the rosary daily and counted St. Joseph as one of the saints that constantly watched over her.
Our Aunt (“ant”) Mary has gone down in family history as the last of the original 10 Watkins siblings. As kids we were fortunate to know ALL of our aunts and uncles and these last few weeks have been particularly poignant as we reminisce on the legacy of the final of these 10 slipping away. Family reunions will never quite be the same.
Mary was preceded in death by her siblings, Ford, Florence, Morrey, Marg, Bob, Dorothy, Tom, Joanne and Jim as well as several treasured nieces and nephews. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and her in-laws, Jan and Bob Stewart. It was the pleasure of her nieces Sr. Marian, Carmen, Teri, Traci, Toni and Tami to assist her in maintaining her independent lifestyle the last few years.
A Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be 10:30am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11am on Thursday, December 23, 2021 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Oswego. The funeral will be available via live stream at www.ollparish.com. Mary loved the idea of people wearing white to funerals so maybe you can do so at hers.
In lieu flowers, donations may be made in her memory to your local Society of St. Vincent de Paul to feed the hungry.