Oregon Activist Mary Paladino Dies

Obituary of Mary Cady Paladino 1931- 2016

Submitted to the Peaceworker by Mary’s Children

Mary was born in Chicago in 1931 to Edith and Otto Cady, and grew up in the tiny town of Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. An adventurer, activist and artist at heart, it wasn’t long before the Big Apple called to her and she moved to New York City, where she enjoyed the bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village and became part of a professional dance troupe, performing ballet and modern dance on the stage. Mary worked her way through college in the 1950’s, waiting tables, working in factories, and even doing a stint as a runway model to pay her tuition, and obtained a degree in Philosophy despite the prevailing opinion of the time that women belonged at home.

After college Mary travelled Europe and lived in Germany, where she hiked in the Alps and learned to speak German. Upon returning to New York, Mary completed a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work, and began her career in social work and mental health care. While still in grad school, she met and married Rocco Paladino, and together they had three beautiful daughters and moved to Oregon to pursue the dream of a better quality of life for their children. Although they later divorced, Mary continued to live in Oregon for forty-five years and loved every minute of it.

Mary worked as a therapist in private practice in Salem, Oregon for decades, and thrived on helping thousands of people to live happier, healthier lives. Mary was an impassioned activist for social justice for her entire adult life, beginning in high school and continuing through her very last days. She was active in the Socialist Party in college, agitated for civil rights during the 1960’s, supported Green Party and other progressive candidates, worked to end poverty, supported women’s right to reproductive freedom, educated youth about options to military service, registered disenfranchised voters, and was an anti-war activist who spoke out vigorously against every war during her lifetime. Mary could often be seen at political rallies, sit-ins and vigils, marching, inventing and singing catchy political poems, songs and jingles, carrying signs, performing political theatre under the moniker of “Raging Dove,” and missing no opportunity to have fun while being a courageous and persistent voice for progressive social change.

Mary was gifted with endless intellectual curiosity and a love of learning that continued throughout her life, in addition to creativity and a fabulous sense of humor. She was an avid reader, writer and artist who delighted in writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, opinion pieces and letters to the editor, enjoyed creative pursuits such as theatre, painting, and sewing, and continued to dance all of her life. At 80 years old Mary began performing onstage to sold out audiences in the annual community production of “The Vagina Monologues,” inspiring women both young and old.

Despite living through the substantial political and social upheavals of her time, Mary remained filled with hope, optimism and enthusiasm throughout her long life. In the recent months before her passing Mary was greatly energized and inspired by the campaign of Bernie Sanders, worked hard for his candidacy, and was thrilled to see the Democratic Party adopt much of Bernie’s progressive platform.

Mary loved the natural splendor of Oregon, and drew renewed energy from time spent outdoors, hiking, camping, going on long walks, and appreciating wilderness and wildlife. A talented athlete and long distance runner for many years, she won numerous awards for her athletic achievements. Kind and generous to a fault, she adored spending time with her loved ones, and treated every day of life as a precious gift.

Mary was a brilliant, strong, spirited woman with a huge and joyful heart, who greatly valued her independence, worked tirelessly every day of her long, happy life to make the world a better place, and was consistently a beacon of positive energy, love and light to those around her. Mary passed from this world on August 13th, 2016 on a bright, clear morning surrounded by family and loved ones, and at the moment of her passing a vivid rainbow filled the sky to let us know that while Mary’s body could no longer carry on, her boundless energy and love will continue to grace this world.

Mary will be greatly missed by her children, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones. She is survived by her loving daughters Maria, Joanna, and Christina Paladino, their partners Jess, Jeremy, and Fred, granddaughter Leah Child and her partner Cameron, grandchildren Nicholas Child and Mia Donald-Paladino, and all of the thousands of others whose lives she touched and transformed. A celebration of life will be held at the Wesley Center, 2520 Harris Street, Eugene, Oregon on October 8th from 3-6 pm. For more information and to share photos and memories of Mary, you may also join the Facebook group Mary Paladino’s Celebration of Life, or send email to maryp.celebrationoflife@gmail.com.Φ

Included with this obituary is the following: “Mary Paladino’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 8th, from 3-6 pm at the Wesley Center, 2520 Harris St., Eugene, OR. PeaceWorker supporters are welcome to attend. There will be a slideshow display of photos and video from Mary’s life, music, and light refreshments.”

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