Lucy Bunzl Mallan
Lucy Bunzl Mallan was born in Manhattan in 1932. Growing up in the vibrant and diverse city of New York influenced her to seize life on her own terms. She first attended Horace Mann-Lincoln, the lab school of Teachers College. She graduated from the Riverdale School for Girls. The later part of her childhood encompassed the war years, during which she lived with blackout shades and rations.
By contrast, summers were spent with extended family in Rye, New York, where she had access to the Long Island Sound, and learned to swim, play tennis, and ride a bike. Those idyllic summers with her parents and maternal grandparents (including her grandfather, the notable attorney Laurence Tanzer), were also marked by major intellectual influences in her life ranging from ethical politics and civic engagement, to a love for literature, to discussions of war and its ravages.
Lucy’s active childhood continued into her teenage years, when she became interested in world peace and joined a group to promote non-violent conflict resolution. Her parents allowed her to travel with the group to Europe, but mid-trip, she left the group to travel alone, hitchhiking without her parents’ knowledge. Though it got her in trouble, her independent adventure only served to whet her appetite for further travel later in life.
She took piano lessons along with her sister. Her father was not entirely pleased with their practicing, but Lucy was not deterred and continued to play, and it engendered a life-long love of playing the piano. She was still giving student recitals at the Levine School of Washington well into her 80s!
When she noticed injustices in school, she stood up to the powers that be, and these experiences were a foundation for a life of activism and seeking to make the world a better and more just place.
Lucy received her BA in Economics at Swarthmore College and then attended Northwestern University, where she earned a Master's and Ph.D. in Economics. At the age of 53, she earned her second Master's degree in the field of Computer Science from Trinity College.
Lucy was a pioneer in her field - not many women of her era pursued advanced degrees in Economics. She taught briefly at Smith College, then after moving to Washington, D.C., she worked at the Commission on Railroad Retirement, the prestigious Brookings Institute, and as a senior economist for the Social Security Administration. Much of her work focused on economic justice for women. Several of her articles were published in the Social Security Bulletin, as well as in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, a peer reviewed feminist academic journal.
She found many like-minded big thinkers in Washington, D.C. In addition to economics, she was fascinated by politics and enjoyed engaging in that topic of conversation with anyone she met. She traveled beyond the beltway bubble for some of those discussions, taking the bus to swing states every 2-4 years to canvas door to door for get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of her beloved Democrats.
Closer to home, she engaged deeply with the ‘real’ DC as a community member. After she left the Social Security Administration, she became interested in using computers in education, teaching and mentoring students from elementary school to undergraduates who wanted to acquire math and computer skills. She volunteered with DC’s Tech Corps stringing cables through the walls of many schools for their earliest computer networks, and volunteered extensively at Higher Achievement Program as a mentor and tutor for middle schoolers in DC.
Lucy was an ambitious and intrepid world traveler. Her explorations took her across five continents, from the Great Wall of China to the giant tortoises of the Galapagos. She greatly enjoyed the art museums and architecture of Europe, and was extremely fond of snorkeling to view the colorful fish and corals of numerous islands in the Caribbean and Hawaii.
She traveled with her eldest daughter Liz on a photo safari to Tanzania. She visited the jungles and mountains of Central and South America and explored across Asia and the Middle East. In her 70s, she combined her love of travel and education through volunteer trips to China, India, and a Navajo reservation.
She visited her daughter Margi in Oregon and together they enjoyed the sea and sand of the Pacific shore. Closer to home, she loved sailing trips on the Junque of Peace and the Whistle Pug with her son Tom on the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay.
In later years, even as she needed more support from others, her independent nature continued to shine through. While her travels drew closer to home, she continued to enjoy her many adventures. She especially loved her weekly field trips with her friend Jill, whom she had met in her 60s when she was learning to kayak. Those who knew her best will always remember her quest for self-reliance and independence.
Although her personal journey through life has come to an end, she had a profound impact on the lives of the people she touched through her work, volunteerism, and loving relationships with friends and family.
Her intellect, spirit and spark, sincere generosity, joyful sense of humor, endless curiosity, energy, passion for lifelong learning for herself and her students, and her absolute refusal to accept age as a reason to stop creating new connections, has been a formative inspiration for everyone who met her. She has most profoundly affected her children and grandchildren, who strive to follow in her footsteps -- creating, exploring and making a difference in the world.
The family would like to express special thanks to Fred Hird, Steven Smith, and Gloria Figueroa, the staff at the Jefferson, and the employees of Assisting Hands.
Lucy B. Mallan passed away August 9, 2021 in Arlington VA at age 88. She was predeceased by her parents, Walter and Peggy Bunzl, and her husband, John Mallan. She is survived by her children: Liz Augustine and husband Robert Praetorius of Maynard MA, Margi Willowmoon and partner Tim Erney of Corvallis OR, and Tom Mallan and wife Trish Killelea now living in Brussels, Belgium; grandchildren Santiago Mallan and Paloma Mallan, sister Alice Belgray, niece Laura Belgray, all of whom reside in New York City, and niece Marian Belgray of Los Angeles CA.
In lieu of flowers please contribute to Higher Achievement Program https://higherachievement.org/ , the organization that Lucy was devoted to for many years.
Service details to be announced.