Mary Katharine Omwake-Dearborn

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2006

SALISBURY – Mary Katharine Omwake-Dearborn, 95, died Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, in Salisbury. She died the same way she lived – with confidence, determination and dignity. As in life, she was surrounded by loving family and her many friends. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Mary was born Oct. 19, 1911, in Harrisburg, Pa., one of four children of Howard Rufus Omwake and Frances Lauretta Geiger. She graduated from The George School and received an AB degree from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1933. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Mary had been an active member of the Salisbury community since 1934 when her father moved from Pennsylvania to become president of Catawba College. For over 70 years she passionately supported Catawba as a house mother; French and Physical Education teacher; faculty wife; First Lady; alumni office employee; athletic booster; and unabashed goodwill ambassador. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;In 1937, she married Donald Curtis Dearborn, a young mathematics professor who later served Catawba as Registrar, Dean, and President, 1963-1967. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Catawba College has recognized Mary’s unique contributions to the college and community with the following awards: Honorary Doctor of Letters in 1976; Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award given as & quot;a permanent reminder of the noblest human qualities & quot; in 1977; Outstanding Alumna Award in 1988; and Exemplary Life Service Award in 1995. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Mary was a loyal member of First United Church of Christ of Salisbury, where she was a member and leader of women’s circles, church school and various committees. She served as president of the Women’s Guild, president of Prime Timers, and church elder. She also served on the Board of Directors and committees of the Southern Conference of the UCC. She had a special interest in the national United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries, on which she served for 13 years. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;An active member of the Salisbury community, Mary was involved at various times with PTA, Girl Scouts, United Way, Heart Fund, Junior Women’s Club, Senior Women’s Club, American Association of University Women, Traveler’s Club, Mardi Book Club and several bridge clubs. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;She taught many Rowan children to swim as a Red Cross instructor and was still delivering Meals on Wheels at age 90. Mary enjoyed being where the action was – a concert, a play, line dancing, wedding parties, bridge or simply coffee and conversation with friends. Catawba football games took precedence over everything except family. Her genuine interest in other people gave her an uncanny ability to remember names and relationships. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;In recent years, Mary delighted in gatherings of her extended family, the latest being her 95th birthday party in October. She leaves the following to & quot;remember who you are and what you represent: & quot; daughters Katharine Dearborn Heckscher and husband John of Wayland, Mass.; Elizabeth Dearborn Miller and husband Chuck of Morrisville, Pa.; son Ralph Omwake Dearborn and wife Jerrie of Raleigh; grandchildren Donald Chambers Dearborn of Lewisburg, Pa., Sarah Heckscher Hyche and husband Ashley of Charlotte, Susan Dearborn Wildman and husband Jim of Falls Church, Va., Elizabeth Heckscher Jackvony and husband Randy of Cranston, R.I., Katherine Miller Jackson and husband Luke of Salisbury; great-grandchildren Davin Heckscher Hyche, Benjamin Ledyard Jackvony, Adam Francis Jackvony, Andrew Omwake Wildman, Henry Chambers Wildman and Eli Creighton Wildman. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;She was predeceased by her husband of 30 years, Donald Curtis Dearborn; brother Henri Geiger Omwake; and sisters Anna Omwake Ferguson and Eleanor Omwake Roderick. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Funeral arrangements are incomplete with Summersett Funeral Home serving the Dearborn family. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Memorials: The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Omwake-Dearborn Scholarship Fund, Catawba College, 2300 W. Innes St., Salisbury NC 28144; or First United Church of Christ, 207 W. Horah St., Salisbury, NC 28144. & lt;br & gt; & lt;br & gt;Online condolences may be made at