Mary Anne Coady

Honored by:Her children
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Mary Anne Coady is a true heroine to her ten children, her husband, her relatives, her co-workers, her patients and her many friends. She was born January 18, 1936, during a snow storm in Des Moines, Iowa. Her parents, William (Bill) and Aletha Richards Gannon, followed a road grader from their farm in Bondurant, Iowa, to Mercy Hospital to have their daughter. Mary Anne and her two older brothers, Mike and Jim, were raised on farms in Bondurant, Oskaloosa, Kellerton and Georgetown, Iowa. Mom remembers moving a lot before she was twelve. Farming in southern Iowa was rarely prosperous and she recalls being very poor.

Mom has fond memories of moving to Georgetown. She was active in 4-H and raised chickens (she still collects chicken memorabilia). She graduated in 1953 from Georgetown High School with a class of five. The class was so small that Mom and her other female classmate Millie got to choose who would be Homecoming Queen and who would be the May Queen. What she remembers most about that time (from age 12 to early 20s) was that everybody in the area was related. Her next door neighbor, Dorothy Judge Magrane, was always hugging everybody -- but then again they were all her cousins. In fact, Dad (Larry B. Coady Ph.D.) was Dorothy's first cousin. Mom and Dad married in Albia, Iowa on December 29, 1956. Dorothy was maid of honor and Bob Jones was best man (also standing were Jane Maurine Coady Reis and Jim Gannon).

After getting married, Mom and Dad moved to Ames where Dad was an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering at Iowa State University. He earned his B.S. in 1959 his M.S. in 1963 and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1965. Dad retired as an Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering in 1992 after over 30 years on the ISU faculty. Mom was his biggest fan throughout his career. Mom is especially proud that all of her children graduated from high school and pursued post-high school education (five graduated from ISU). Larry Coady passed away, March 7, 2013.

Being a mother and a grandmother are Mom's greatest joys. Some of her fondest memories are of going to all her children's events; cross country, basketball, softball and football. She enjoyed cross country the most. "It was the prettiest." In fact, there was a Coady on the Ames High School Cross Country team for 17 of 18 years. After almost twenty years of going to Ames High School sports to watch her children, she definitely paid her "spectator dues." She says "I never missed it after everybody graduated." Mom was the mastermind and organizer of all the family graduation parties, weddings and showers. One of the most memorable for her was the party she hosted to celebrate her parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary (January 24 1973). It was held in our back yard in June of 1972 with over a hundred family relatives and friends attending. She loves to be with people -- the more the merrier.

Mom received her Nurses training in 1956 from St. Joseph's School of Nursing in Ottumwa, Iowa. She was a pediatric nurse in Ottumwa and later a medical and emergency room nurse at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames, Iowa. Mom "retired" from 1959-1975 to become a full-time mother. Although one could argue that she never really did retire. When Sam broke his neck in December of 1978 (8th grade) he was in a full body cast and couldn't do his morning paper route for over two months. Mom, always to the rescue, did Sam's route for him while also managing to send everybody off to school with a warm breakfast. During this "retirement" she was also the neighborhood nurse, treating all the kids' cuts bruises and broken bones -- her advice was highly valued. She eventually returned to nursing before formally retiring in October, 1993. Her last decade of nursing was spent as a homecare and hospice nurse for Homeward of Mary Greeley Hospital. To describe her love for this type of nursing she said "I loved it. Everyday I was learning something new and it was always a wonderful challenge." She credited her colleagues and other hospice providers for helping to make her work so interesting and for their dedication to hospice work. Mom's patients and their families know of her generous and loving work.

Mom is a joy to be around. She has a warm and gentle sense of humor. When asked how she would like to be thought of, she stated "Oh, you know, as someone who was nice and has a sense of humor." To those of us who know her, we can be more effusive. Mom is a constant source of inner strength and quiet wisdom. She taught us to "be comfortable with our efforts," to be considerate of others (the golden rule) and to keep an open mind about the world around us.

In her retirement she has become known as a very talented craft maker. She loves "her" lake home and spends many hours making quilts baskets wreaths and other treasures for her family.

Mary Anne and Larry's legacies are, from oldest to youngest: Suzanne, Michelle, Dan, Kayleen, Linda, Sheila, Sam, Ellen, Amy, and Anne. They have 16 grandchildren: Nicole, Jim, Lindsey, Lissa, Ryan,  Sam, Will, Leo, Emily, Andrew, Sean and Mary. Being Parents and grandparents are Mom and Dad's greatest joys!!

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Mary Anne Coady
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