Obituary: Mary Whiteside

July 17, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Mary Charlotte Herrington Whiteside, age 90, passed away suddenly on March 8, 2020 due to complications of the Covid-19 virus pandemic in Kirkland, Washington. Unfortunately, she was in a rehabilitation facility recovering from surgery, almost ready to be discharged, when symptoms of the virus came on, as one of the early cases, and was transferred to Evergreen Hospital.  
She sadly died four days later.  Mary lived a fantastic life in many places; Sanibel Island and Boca Grande; Hinsdale, Illinois; Glen Lake, Bad Axe, and Port Austin, Michigan; and her last five years in Bothell/Kirkland, Washington near her daughter, Martha.
Mary was born in Bad Axe, Michigan to Phebe May Clark Herrington and Dr. Charles Irvine Herrington. Her father was the small town physician and her mother taught violin lessons, was a seamstress/dress designer, and personal assistant for the Governor’s wife, Mamie Sleeper for whom Mary was named.  Mary’s older brother, Dr. Charles Clark Herrington, was very close to her throughout their lives, and he predeceased her.
Mary grew up in Bad Axe and Port Austin Michigan. At age 13, her mother passed away and she and Clark stayed a time with their “aunt” Mrs. Sleeper and Uncle Bert while their dad was busy being the town doctor. Their many other family members kept close tabs on them growing up.  She played the flute and piccolo in high school, along with being a cheerleader, and participating in plays, and the choir.  After graduating Bad Axe High School in 1947, Mary went on to college at Hillsdale College for a year, joining Pi Beta Phi sorority, and then transferred to the University of Michigan Nursing School. She graduated in 1953 and after working a short time in the Bad Axe hospital, moved to San Diego, helping her young cousin recover from polio. She then worked at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla as a surgical nurse. It was while she was there, living in a house on the beach with two other Marys, that she met her future husband Nate, from Hinsdale, Illinois, on a blind date. Engaged on April Fool’s Day, before Nate went back out to sea with the Navy, they were married on August 20, 1955 in Bad Axe. Shortly after Nate retired from the Navy, they moved to Hinsdale, Illinois to work at Northern Bank Note Company with his father. They raised their three young children in Hinsdale and in 1972 moved to Northville, Michigan buying Midwest Bank Note, a smaller similar company.  Mary was very valuable working in various roles in this new company from proofreading, certificate framing, and secretarial work.
She was involved in their children’s schools being the room mother, picture lady, and candy house maker, among other things.  She developed many lifelong family friendships in both Hinsdale and Northville. Mary and Nate spent summers and winter weekends (teaching the kids to ski and enjoy boating) in Michigan at their cottages at Glen Lake and Port Austin, where there was family to enjoy.  She and Nate moved to Glen Lake after Nate retired. She was involved with the Garden Club, Glen Lake Yacht Club, and crewed for Nate on their Snipe sailboat over the years, winning many races. They became snowbirds and Florida residents up until 2014 in Boca Grande and also visited Sanibel’s Island Inn when they could. They enjoyed tennis, card games, and all sorts of social activities, including sailing and creating the Boca Grande Yacht Club with their friends.   
Mary and Nate would also take a yearly ski trip out to Aspen and Vail Colorado with dear friends from Hinsdale, until they allowed their kids to start joining them. Other vacations were spent driving throughout the US. They loved visiting their kids at their colleges and homes as young adults. Grandchildren were very special to them and they tried to visit them often besides having them visit in the summer.
Mary loved to bicycle places where she lived. She was a downhill and cross country skier, an occasional ice skater, and loved sailing, and driving her classic Century wooden boat( the Mary C. and others). She enjoyed playing tennis, golf, and was a shuffleboard champion.  Her hobbies included interior decorating, playing card games, gardening, knitting, needlepoint, jigsaw puzzles and collecting shells.  
Mary was a classy, sweet, friendly, smiley, fun loving person who raised their children firmly but lovingly.  She made friends easily and was known for her spirit and spunk, her laugh, her stubbornness, her love of family, her humor, her secret family brownies, and her love of classical music including attending concerts in Ann Arbor. She was an avid University of Michigan and football fan, and always a sun worshiper for a suntan on the water or snow.  She appreciated art history and attended many art museums around the country with friends and on tours. She loved to travel and visited Ireland, Scotland, England, Grenada, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, and Norway.
Mary lived a wonderful life with her husband and family and is survived by her three loving children who miss both of them so much: Martha (Paul Smith) of Kirkland, WA; Charlie (Laura) of Colorado Springs; and Jim (Kathy) of Brighton, MI; and six grandchildren (Ashley, Nate, John, Charlie, Jenny, and Sarah) and a great granddaughter, Leiliana. Many other family members and close friends who loved her and will sorely miss her. Nate preceded her in death on Jan 15, 2019.
The family hopes to have a celebration of her life at Glen Lake when possible and safe due to Covid-19. For further information please go to the Barton Funeral website below.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be directed to any of the organizations below: 
* Glen Lake Yacht Club, P.O. Box 463, Glen Arbor, MI 49636. 
* Bad Axe Library at 200 S. Hanselman, Bad Axe, MI 48413 (badaxelibrary.org)
* St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 139 W. Huron Ave, Bad Axe, MI 48413 
Mary’s family would love it if you shared your thoughts, memories and photos of her by visiting bartonfuneral.com. where there will be any updates for a future celebration of life.