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Mary Burton Stewart, a Glendale native who devoted her life to her family and community, died Oct. 5 at Maple Knoll in Springdale. She was 96. Mary was born at home, 930 Forest Avenue, to Clarence Van Wie Burton and Emily Richardson Burton, Aug. 30, 1923. She spent most of her life in Glendale, though she traveled widely. Despite personal tragedy early in life she became a consistent voice of warmth and welcoming, transcending the expected to follow her instincts for what was right, important, or just plain fun. Her family was always first. Mary’s father died of food poisoning when she was four. Her mother remarried and then died giving birth to Mary’s half-brother, Jimsy, when Mary was 7. Five years later the little boy died of a burst appendix. Her maternal grandmother, Annis Richardson Withenbury, had joined the household and raised her. Mary attended Hillsdale School (now Seven Hills) and then Wellesley College, graduating in 1945, with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She immediately joined the Red Cross and was assigned to Okinawa, the Philippines and then Japan where she and her colleagues coordinated rest and recovery programs for servicemen as World War II wound down. One of those men was Robert D. Garrison, Jr., a paratroop instructor from Texas. She married R.D., as he was known, in 1947 and settled in Austin, Texas. Five children were born before the marriage ended and she moved home to Glendale in 1961. She loved Glendale and described growing up there as idyllic. She wanted the same for her children. In 1964 she married Richard Patrick Stewart, an engineer at GE in Lockland. They had known each other since childhood. Pat embraced Mary’s children as his own. He passed in 1995. It was no surprise that Mary dedicated much of her life to community service; her stepfather, James Carruthers, was Glendale’s mayor for more than 45 years. She served seven years on the board of Planned Parenthood of Cincinnati, including the presidency in 1986-1987. She was honored as “Woman of the Year” by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and served on the boards of the Hillside Trust and Women’s Committee of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, to name a few. In 1991 she received the highest honor for a graduate of Seven Hills, the Goodall Distinguished Alumna Award, which cited her service on numerous civic boards, starting “Careers in Social Work” to recruit young people to careers in the field, and leading Hamilton County’s first campaign to pass a tax levy to support local mental health centers. Mary also persuaded administrators at University of Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College, to organize college level enrichment courses for older adults, and served at Volunteers Intervening for Equity, a national group helping older citizens make a difference in their communities. She set her own example by tutoring less privileged in reading at Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine area. Her legacy of service, of nurturing and supporting family, of leaving the community a better place, is a moving example to many. Mary Tylor was always warm and welcoming, interesting and interested, fun to be with and a bit mischievous. She will be remembered by many for her kindness, generosity of spirit and for her courage. Mary showed us all how to courageously face adversity with intelligence and integrity. Mary is survived by her five children: Robert Garrison, Bali, Indonesia; Emily Toll, Lake Oswego, Oregon; Priscilla Morgan, Versailles, Kentucky; Tylor Stewart, Fort Myers, Florida; and James Garrison, of Glendale, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Glendale Lyceum. She will be interred privately at Oak Hill Cemetery, Glendale. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in Mary’s memory to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio at ppswohio.org/tribute or by phone 513-824-7808.
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