Mary Alice Hay

December 16, 1929November 7, 2018

Born on December 16, 1929, Mary Alice Smith grew up as the fourth of five children on a Kansas farm during the Depression era. It was during these years that Mary learned the value of hard work and sacrifice. At 17, Mary moved to Kansas City, Missouri. There she attended business school and promptly found work as a secretary. It was also where she met her future husband, Bill Hay.

Bill and Mary married on November 15, 1953, and began their new life together in Chicago where Bill was stationed with the Marine Corps. Next he was assigned to San Francisco. As they crossed the California state line, Mary said that she had finally come home to the place where deep in her soul she felt she was meant to be. Following their time in San Francisco, they moved to San Diego County and never left. This was truly home for Bill, Mary, and their three daughters Deanna, Karen and Sandy.

Largely owing to her upbringing, Mary was a practical and resourceful person, as demonstrated in the way she shopped, cooked and sewed her girls’ clothes. They still recall kneeling on the floor so Mary could pin the hem of their skirts to stay within school guidelines, and Mary’s standard of modesty.

Mary created countless fond memories: surprise treats slipped into sack lunches; her well-guarded recipe for Swedish mustard; Thanksgivings that started with watching the Macy’s parade and ended with her delicious dinner and homemade pies; and shopping for strong, well-fitting shoes each fall, which came from her own family’s need during the depression when they could not afford proper footwear. Mary continued throughout her life to give more than she received; she did so because she truly loved her family. For many years she worked as Bill's office manager, and in her retirement years proudly served as a "Pink Lady" at Pomerado Hospital in Poway in the maternity ward and helped organize fundraisers for Children's Hospital of San Diego.

In the last eight years of her life, Mary demonstrated unparalleled faith and dignity as she faced a body that slowly failed her from dementia. She never lost her sweet, enduring smile, and was well loved not only by her immediate family but also by her "family" of caregivers at Lomas Serenas Residential in Escondido, California. Mary died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. She is survived by her husband Bill Hay; daughters Deanna Cornett, Karen Hay-Steuer and Sandy Partridge; grandchildren Steven and Elyse Cornett; brother Ray Smith; and sister Mildred Tanner.


Mary Alice Hay

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