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Mary Erichsen

Passed on: June 19th, 2011

ERICHSEN, MARY HIERLIHY - The death of Mary Hierlihy Erichsen occurred on June 19, 2011.
She is survived by her sister Elizabeth Haggerty and her husband Dan Haggerty, and their three children, Alison, Dan and John, her daughters Zoë (Rien) and Janna (Martin), grandsons Jacques Teasdale and Keenan Erichsen-Meesters, and Jake Briggs. Mary is pre-deceased by her parents, Mary and Jack Hierlihy and her brother Johnny. Born in Edmundston, N.B. in 1940, Mary's family moved to Madawaska, Maine in 1944 where her father was general manager for Fraser Paper Limited.
Mary's early schooling was there until she went to Bishop Strachan School in Toronto for three years, then to Mt Allison University in Sackville, N.B. University life became too interesting and hectic: Mary left before completing her degree and went to New York City to work for a year. A year of psychiatric treatment in Toronto helped settle her life goals; she undertook an intense period of personal development that was always supported by her parents. Mary learned then that she could handle anything that life could throw her; never realizing that in 1988-1989 she would need much strength to cope with both divorce and the diagnosis of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). In October 1966, Mary married Dan Erichsen-Brown. She also taught in schools and completed her degree from Mt Allison University. In 1969, Mary and Dan moved to Collingwood. Ontario and stayed for 20 years. During that time, Mary raised two daughters (Zoë Gretchen and Janna Elizabeth), organized the promotion of her husband's art career, was elected to the Simcoe County School Board, became a Justice of the Peace, consulted for the Ontario ministry of Municipal Affairs, and was a member of the Board of Georgian College. Her daughters stayed with Mary after her divorce in 1988 and finished their early schooling in Collingwood. Zoë later graduated from Guelph University, then with a master's degree from University of New Brunswick; Janna graduated from the University of Toronto. Mary moved to Fredericton in 1989 to care for her mother.
The MS diagnosis in 1988 never weakened Mary's resolve to tackle her condition with strength of mind. As the years went by, she refused to feel overwhelmed or defeated; rather, she travelled many times overseas and in the North America, she researched MS and her options, she observed her children's successes and she gathered new friendships.
Equally as independently and with a calm mind, she claimed her right to decide when her independence had become so compromised that it was time to prepare her obituary. She has had a good life and many good friends. She especially values Marie Cormier, Ann Gale, Dibb Haggerty, Don Stevenson and Brandie Wright who have sustained her during recent challenging years. She thanks Zoë for taking her in and Janna for many sustaining phone calls; they have been the best loving daughters she ever could have wished for. There will be a Celebration of Life for friends and family at Rohirrim Farm, 50 Kingsley Road on Friday, June 24th at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of Flowers please donate to the MS Society.

 

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