Mary Elizabeth Priester passed away at Genesis Medical Center on May 6, 2012, drawing the curtain on a long and happy life devoted to family, friends and faith.
Born October 6, 1925 to Anne and Robert Feeney in Davenport, Iowa, Mary was the oldest of 5 children. She graduated from Immaculate Conception Academy and Marycrest College.
Mary was a talented actress. For her senior project, she performed a one-person show of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” She pursued graduate studies in acting at Fordham. In the late 1950’s she and a group of friends formed the Straw Hat Players, a theatre company that performed in the Quad-Cities. (Her nickname Abby came from a character in a play with the Straw Hat Players). She appeared in local and national television commercials in the 1970’s. Mary taught the love and craft of acting to her children, grandchildren, and to many others through her Creative Dramatics classes.
Mary’s passion in life was peace and social justice. She served on committees in the 1950’s to address racial inequality in the Quad Cities. Her desire for social justice led her to be active in politics supporting candidates that shared her view of compassion and equality. Mary served as a delegate to the State Democratic Convention in 1976. Mary was a social worker in Davenport where she tried to help people experiencing difficulties in life. She also lived her beliefs by visiting friends in the hospital, bringing food to those grieving, and giving support to those in need.
After a brief courtship, Mary joined Patrick Priester in marriage on October 18, 1952 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Davenport. Through this union Mary and Pat navigated the beautiful and difficult moments of life; setting an example of a strong and balanced partnership for their children.
She is survived by sons Emmett (Debi) of Bettendorf; Patrick of St. Paul, Minnesota; Joseph (Monique Fleming) of Manhattan Beach, California; Paul (Katherine) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; John (Teresa Vens) of Des Moines, Iowa; and Dan and Michael of Bettendorf. Grandma Mary will be missed by the following grandchildren: Erin Paysen and Casey Priester; Caitlin Featherstone-Priester, Paul, and Margaret Priester; Aidan and Alexander Vens; Daniel, Joshua and David Priester; Gina Acree; and her newest grandchild- Lilia Joy Priester born on May 1, 2012. Each of these grandchildren gave her immense joy. Mary is also survived by her loyal and faithful siblings: Joseph Michael Feeney (Carol) and Jean Marie Glancy.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband Patrick, her daughters Little Louise and Maria Acree, and brothers Robert and Thomas.
Memorials may be made in her honor to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, 820 West Central Park Avenue, Davenport, IA 52804-1900 to continue Mary’s quest to help the poor and the powerless.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial for Mary shall be on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 4097 18th Street, Bettendorf. Visitation will be Friday, May 11, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home, 614 Main Street, downtown Davenport. Burial will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Per Mary’s wishes, cremation rites were accorded.
Online remembrances and condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Mary’s obituary at www.hmdfuneralhome.com.