A Tribute to Mary Patricia Blalock….my friend, my colleague and my inspiration.
Debbie Tanner ‘70
Hampton Roads Academy has lost a truly special person with the recent death of Mary Blalock on April 13. Mary worked at HRA for 15 years, most recently as the Director of Advancement.
I’ve had the privilege of working on Mary’s team as a friend and colleague for several years. She is a caregiver extraordinaire. This was evident in her early career choice as a pediatric ICU nurse caring for the critically ill young. Mary cherished her many friends and co-workers. They became friends for life. Her special brand of humor made for lively conversation and oh, how she could make you laugh! She didn’t know a stranger. She’d reach out to anyone in her midst and always seemed to know how to spark a conversation, making that person feel special and important.
Family and faith were important to Mary. Her true loves were her husband Ward and her daughters Nora and Marnie. Ward and Mary were such a solid couple as they faced life’s ups and downs through love, laughter and tears. The girls are so like Mary… smart, funny, hardworking, following their passions for government policy and medicine respectively. She couldn’t have been more proud of them. Her father, five younger brothers and extended families on both sides meant so much to her and she loved her visits to Massachusetts and North Carolina. Mary was a faithful Catholic. She “lived” her faith through her beliefs, her practices and by serving her church.
Throughout Mary’s 13 years of fighting ovarian cancer, through numerous difficult treatments, she rarely complained. She was the first person to visit or call another when they faced a similar diagnosis. Mary took her job seriously, worked hard and brought much success (along with her team) to raising funds and building relationships at HRA. She showed up for work, even when feeling poorly from side effects of treatments, and just kept going. That was Mary. Her team and co-workers loved her and she served as a source of strength and inspiration to so many. Mary Blalock will live on in our hearts and minds forever.