Mary Gardiner Jones Eulogy
Charles Watkins
St. Columba's Episcopal Church
Washington, DC

I have just a few words.

I'd like first to thank Dr. Tom Sachs for his insightful care, the wonderful Hospice folks, and Mary's bookkeeper Pauline Stephenson. But in particular, Mary's health care aids Gertrude Manyaka and Alethia Esberry for their love and commitment to her over the last 3 years. Mary surrendered her great independence reluctantly.

I have a marvelous limerick telegram Mary sent on the day I was born and we've been very close all my life. We never talked about it, but I think it's because we each questioned at a very early age whether we were loved, and sensed that commonality in each other. We liked each other to be sure, and were similar in many respects, but we fundamentally trusted the love we had for each other, and that made all the difference.

I think also, in the peculiar alchemy of a person, that early uncertainty was the reason Mary led the life she did. Out of empathy, she simply wanted people to feel cared about, and she devoted her life energies to it. She expressed it in her relationships, she expressed it in her career and the many organizations and issues she took on, and she expressed it in her politics.

I've been grieving the approaching loss of Mary for a long time now. As often happens, emotions couple with music, and there's a very sensitive Arthur Rubenstein recording of Chopin's Piano Concerto # 1 which I think well reflects Mary's life. Early essences of a person in childhood in the first movement, development of the themes in her college and law school years in the second, and in the third, wonderfully embellished explorations and assertions of her ideas through her adult life that the world is forced to grapple with. For while Mary struggled with her feelings at times, she loved ideas, she had fun with the things she threw herself into, she loved life.

Together, these dimensions gave the world an extraordinary human being. She didn't believe in a life after, more that one lives on in the things one has done, and in the thoughts and hearts of those who knew her. In this regard she's given us plenty to work with.

Mary had asked that folks think of her while listening to a few minutes of music that was special to her. We thought of doing this in a reception in the hall next door following this service. There's some food, and afterwards and opportunity for anyone to share their thoughts and remembrances.