Mary Madonna Hopkins Mayer was born in Cleveland, OH, on Dec. 22, 1945, to William H. and Bernice T. Hopkins. She died unexpectedly on May 12, 2011, in West Des Moines. She grew up in Storm Lake, and graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1964. She continued her higher education at Clarke University in Dubuque.
After college Mary worked at the Linguistics Department of Indiana University and later at a brokerage firm in St. Louis, Mo. She eventually moved to Durham, N.C., where she was involved in retail sales and representational work for Estee Lauder. After that she worked in the airline reservation industry and later in banking in Durham and in Scottsdale, Ariz. After being divorced and moving to Washington, D.C., she worked for a number of years in admissions at The George Washington University Hospital's Medical Faculty Associates.
While living in Washington, she became interested in politics. She was active in political circles and worked tirelessly for candidates she supported. She was also involved in the Clarke College Alumnae Association and participated in its activities.
Mary was distinguished by a delicate, cameo beauty, an elegant feeling for fashion and style, a sharp wit, a sometimes raucous sense of humor and mirth, fierce loyalty, a deep love for family and friends, a certain innocent naiveté coupled with surprisingly deep wisdom, compassion, kindness for everyone, and an undying belief that all would be well. Even in later years, faced with poor health, suffering, and mobility challenges, she never wanted for others to worry about her, putting everyone else's peace of mind ahead of thoughts about herself; she never complained. No matter what the situation, an eternal optimist, independent, proud, elegant, strong and dignified, she never lost faith in a better, brighter future. She truly believed wishing could make it so. Moreover, she was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage and in many ways was the personification of the feisty, unyielding colleen of Celtic tales and lore.
Mary was preceded in death by her beloved father, mother, grandparents, and numerous aunts and uncles. She is survived by her brothers Bill Hopkins of Washington, D.C., Patrick J. Hopkins, sister-in-law Paula Koegel, Urbandale, niece Jackie Koegel, Beavertown, Ore., first cousins Thomas and Patrick Morrison, Brecksville, OH, Dr. J. A. Clothier, Lincoln, NE, and Dr. Elvin Hopkins, Early. Moreover, she leaves a host of friends who loved her and will miss her profoundly, including Iris Fabricant, Washington, D.C., Eddie, Shanti, and Dulmi Ratnasiri, Silver Spring, Md., Sally Clark, Houston, Texas, and Chris Labas, Washington, D.C.
In thinking of Mary, how apt Emily Dickenson's observation, "Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality."
Those who loved Mary and wish to honor her memory may do so in any of the traditional Catholic ways or they may make a contribution to the Mary M. Hopkins Mayer Endowed Scholarship Fund, Dept. of Academic Development, 1550 Clarke Dr., Dubuque, IA, 52001.