The Polite, Fisco, Kamm, Link, Bauman families lost our matriarch, mother, wife, grandmother, mother-in-law, ever-ready bunny, and shining star on Monday, March 25, 2019. She was the glue that held us together, and was always ready with advice, love and a helping hand for everyone.
Mary Bauman Polite was born in Alliance, Nebraska on March 15, 1931, minutes before her identical twin, Martha. Mary and Martha were the youngest daughters of Leona and Bernard Bauman. Mary and Martha grew up in a large family with two older twin sisters, Jean and Joan, and three older brothers, Doc, Bill and Bob. Small town Nebraska plains life gave Mary her value of hard work and her ability to meet, befriend and trust others. Her love of nature, the mountains and being outdoors developed from time spent at the family cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota where they camped, hiked, fished, swam and created their own fun. She and Martha became quite close to their mother as their father died when they were just 15 years old. Mary attended St. Agnes Academy in Alliance through high school and then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where she attended the Sacred Heart School and Duchesne College.
Mary met the love of her life Willis Polite during her senior year in college. Over their 67 plus years together and apart, in Norfolk, Cleveland, Scottsdale, Old Snowmass, San Francisco and Mill Valley, Will and Mary managed to successfully raise six children, assorted spouses, and sixteen grandchildren.
Mary and will married on May 31, 1952, in Alliance, Nebraska and moved shortly thereafter to Norfolk Virginia, where Will enrolled in the Naval Officers Training School and Mary began a career as an English teacher. As Will's naval career ended, the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Will's brother lived, thus beginning a sixteen-year sojourn in the Midwest. Mary led a full life as a mother, homemaker and volunteer. Her volunteer activities reached far and wide, touching schools, clubs, sports organizations, the local community, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and the Junior League of Cleveland. Mary enjoyed a variety of sports, playing competitive tennis and golf at the Cleveland Racquet Club and the Kirtland Country Club.
In 1972, Mary ventured back to her Western roots, moving to Scottsdale, Arizona. Mary embraced her new life and location with gusto, making many friends, volunteering with a wide variety of organizations, and discovering the wonders of the desert. She became very involved with her church, The Casa De Paz Y Bien, as well as the Children's Crisis Nursery and the Heard Museum, where she was a docent for many years. Mary also had a variety of careers during her 30+ years in Phoenix as a real estate agent, a western art sales woman, a colorist, and a kitchenware specialist. When Martha and her husband retired to Arizona in 1993, Mary had the good fortune of spending more time with her beloved twin sister.
Mary's love of the region and her quest to return to the Rocky Mountains was satisfied with the family's acquisition of Snowmass Valley Ranch in Old Snowmass, Colorado. The refurbishing of the original valley homestead, its barn, outbuildings, fields, ponds, and river became a source of family bonding and much joy over the ensuing 35+ years. The Ranch truly became the happiest place on earth for Mary.
Mary found herself spending much of her time with her new name of "Grams" in the San Francisco area as most of her offspring had migrated to Mill Valley. Mary landed in her charming fairytale home on the hillside of Blithedale Canyon. Grams' new favorite pass time was baking (and sometimes burning) scotch tea tarts, Christmas cookies, and cinnamon rolls with her grandchildren. When she wasn't busy cheering on the sidelines of youth sporting events, she was busy making friends, playing bridge, or volunteering her time with the Outdoor Art Club and the Metropolitan Club.
Mary remarried Will on June 12, 2017, in Aspen, Colorado. With much in common in their later life, she and Will found peace, love, warmth, happiness and understanding together. In their last years together they enjoyed spending time at the Ranch, in the Sierras, as well as in the Bay Area watching their many offspring grow, thrive and succeed in their varied endeavors. One of their favorite pastimes was quietly sitting together in the sunshine watching the wonders of nature all around them.
In addition to her husband Will, Mary is survived by her six children: Willis (Wick) Polite, Pam Polite Fisco (Dennis), Cindy Polite Kamm (Mike), Mark Polite (Dorian), Katy Link (Brian) and Karen Polite. Mary is also survived by her sixteen grandchildren: Willis III, Kimberly Polite, Kyle Polite, Megan Rudnick (Aaron), Michael Polite, Gavin (Laura), Dana and Peter (Kristin) Fisco, Kelsey and Caroline Kamm, Chloe, T.J. and Tatum Polite, Weston and Dylan Link and Mandy Sullivan.
Mary was deeply loved, and she will be dearly missed, but never forgotten as her bright smile, her open, loving nature and her ever-ready bunny energy will keep her "worm" in our hearts forever. She was a one of a kind "Gal from the Tekakwitha Camp – always on the go and ready for a tramp. So mister moon, moon, bright and shiny moon, won't you please shine down on, always shine down on, please shine down on her."
In lieu of flowers donations be made in Mary's memory to the Mary Polite scholarship fund at the Ogalala Lakota college 605 455 6000 or to Saint Benedict Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado 970 279 4400