Mary Edith Blanche
Salem – February 26, 1930 – January 16, 2018
Mary Blanche passed peacefully of natural causes. Mary was born in Los Angeles, California, to Edith and Lester Heavner. Mary had two older sisters, Lucille and Sonia, and a younger brother Clinton. At 15 she moved with her family to Trona, in California’s Mohave desert. Mary loved the desert and told many stories of her teen years there.
In 1948 she eloped with Richard Blanche. She had five children: Richard, Lorraine, Susan, Rosanne and Robert. A stay-at-home mom, she raised her family to be kind, self-sufficient, independent and strong. In 1969 the family moved to Salem, Oregon. There she attained her AA degree at Chemeketa Community College and made the ‘Dean’s List’. She worked for the State of Oregon until retiring in 1991.
Mary was a force of nature with a very determined spirit. Her greatest gift was an ability to see the beauty, strength and weakness in each of us, and without judgment, to provide advice unique to each individual. She genuinely loved people, and they responded to her warmth and wisdom. Mary loved animals, liked to cook, enjoyed traveling with her family, and liked games, game shows and comedies.
Mary is survived by: son Richard Blanche, daughter Susan (Rex) Kappler, daughter Rosanne (Geoff) Parks, son Robert (Christine) Blanche, and daughter Lorraine’s partner Mark Gillespie and ex-husband Joseph May. She leaves nine grandchildren: Marcie (Rodney) Maret, Amie (Michael) Hyatt, Rachel Blanche, Jessica and Justin Kliewer, Hayley (Ike) McGinnis, Emily and Audrey Blanche, and Carly (Tyler) Snow. She has nine great-grandchildren: R.J. Blanche; Jacob, Celeste, Devin and Alexis Hyatt; Drake and Konner Maret; Jayden and Jayna Alvarez; and one great-great grandchild (Isaiah Hyatt). She also leaves four nieces, three nephews and their spouses and children. She dearly loved us all.
Mary made the world a better place – she will be forever carried in the hearts of many.
Published in Statesman Journal on Jan. 23, 2018
Mary would have been in the class of 1949 if she had not dropped out of school in the 8th grade. She worked in the Trona Coffee shop with her father until she eloped with Richard Blanche.
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