Mary Kroeger Remembered
Letter from Mary’s daughter, Reva
Dear friends, family and colleagues of Mary Kroeger,
Many of you honored Mary by gathering, lighting candles, and in many other ways on February 27, 2005, the day before what would have been Mary’s 58th birthday. On behalf of our family I would like to thank all of you for your presence, food, help, thoughts and memories that we all shared that day. Here in California, we watched Mary’s interview with Carol Thomason with her wise words to the future midwives of our world, sang songs, ate, laughed, read and wrote, all with her in mind. We burned sage and had a planting ceremony, during which a small portion of her ashes were “planted” with the jade that had been planted with her granddaughter’s placenta, as per Mary’s request.
The surroundings were sacred and artistic, decorated by Janis (Mary’s good friend who, along with midwife friend Annie and Robert—Mom’s husband, was with Mary at the last moments) and her two daughters and a friend. There was an altar where candles burning with images of Mary lit up goddess and birthing statues, herbs, flowers, crystals and the many photographs, poems and other objects guests had placed on it. There were four big collages—two of Mary with friends and family from babyhood to very recent, one of Mary midwifing all over the world, and one with some of her favorite breastfeeding images. Her three kids did the planting ceremony, with help from Janis, who had opened the ceremony with a prayer and words about Mom’s passing. All day, as rain poured on and off outside, a mysterious white cat flounced in and out of our home as if it were the guest of honor. It was a wonderful gathering of old friends and touched souls, and Mom would have been proud!
Now, we are moving forward with our plans to honor Mary’s wish of scattering most of her ashes in Belize, Central America, on the land she and her husband Robert owned. This will probably be held late December of 2005. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS EVENT, PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY: email@example.com.
Letter from Mary’s friend, Karen
Dear Friends of Mary Kroeger,
A week before Mary died she asked me to take out a small photo album from her bookshelf. Quite weak, but still with her strong spirit showing, Mary began to go through each picture in the photo album and share with me a story. The photos were of crib quilts she had made for people all around the world; some with babies on them, others with the parents holding them up, and a few with Mary proudly standing next to her creations. I knew Mary made quilts, but I had never realized just how many she had made for others, how passionate she felt about using local material from the countries she had lived in, and how much love she had for these quilts and the people she made them for.
I am Mary’s neighbor. Not a friend she knew very long (just over a year), and not someone she knew in good health. But, like you, Mary meant a lot to me. From the moment I met her she made me feel jazzed about life. Mary used the word “jazzed” a lot on our frequent walks around Takoma Park. Certain topics really got her jazzed—breastfeeding, activism, women’s issues, and, of course, birth. These are the moments I remember most, her face with a bright, vibrant smile. Mary wanted everyone around the world to be “jazzed.”
Another neighbor of Mary’s, Caté, also felt a strong bond with the “jazz” in Mary. Several weeks after Mary’s death, Caté and I both felt that a way to pay tribute to Mary would be to do what she would have done: make a quilt. We want to create a quilt by her friends, a quilt that celebrates and honors who Mary was to so many people. We have discussed this with Reva, Mary’s daughter, who has encouraged us to do it.
Caté and I are asking you to please contribute to this quilt. You can send us anything. A piece of material that had special meaning to you and Mary, a poem embroidered on the quilt, an image or a piece of your baby’s clothing with name and date of birth. Please don’t think you have to be artistic to contribute. We’re not. Just send us something that can be sewn into a quilt that honors Mary. And if you’d like to send a written memory of Mary along with the quilt piece, please do. We’ll find a way for it to accompany the quilt. A local neighbor here in Takoma Park will sew the quilt together and it will be given to Mary’s family.
While, in her final days, Mary expressed to me how sad she was about leaving everyone she loved so much in her life, she also told me her hope that her granddaughter, Gracie, would remember who she was, and that her future grandchildren would know something about her too. This quilt will be one way of letting her grandchildren know just who Mary was to so many people.
You can send the squares to:Caté Stokes
404 Lincoln Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912
We’re hoping to gather the squares by May 1. If you think your square will arrive later than this, please e-mail Caté at so we know something’s coming. Please reference in the subject area of the email “Mary Kroeger” so Caté will be sure to open your email. Caté will send you a confirmation in the snail mail when she receives your square for the quilt so you know we got it.
Memorial Service for Mary Kroeger (El Cerrito, California)
We invite you to join us in a memorial of the life and passing of Mary Kroeger: Midwife, Mother, Activist, Sister, Grandmother, Quilter, Teacher, Dreamer.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Please arrive at 2:00
Ceremony at 2:30
Food and Enjoyment to follow
Bring photos, poems, candles, and anything that reminds you of Mary.
Please RSVP to [email protected] and ask for location. Let us know if you would like to bring food or utensils. Thanks!
Memorial Service for Mary Kroeger (Greater metro DC area)
We welcome you to participate in Mary’s memorial service, an opportunity for family, friends and colleagues to come together the day before what would have been her 58th birthday to share experiences, stories, songs, poems, and photos in celebration of her life.
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Greenbelt Community Center
From Washington DC: Take MD 295 North. Merge onto D-193 W/Greenbelt Rd toward Greenbelt/College Park. Take the Balt./Wash Pkwy ramp toward Washington. Stay straight to go onto Southway. Take Southway to a left on Crescent Road. You will be at Roosevelt Center. The library and community center are on the left side of Roosevelt Center. Park behind the library. Go through the rear entrance of the community center and take stairs or elevator to the second floor multi-purpose room.
From points North: Take the Capital Beltway/I-495 E toward Baltimore/College Park. Take the Balt./Wash PKWY North exit-Exit 22A toward Baltimore Merge on MD-295 N. Merge on MD-193 W/Greenbelt Rd. toward Greenbelt/College Park. Take the Balt./Wash PKWY ramp toward Washington. Stay straight to go onto Southway. Take Southway to a left on Crescent Road. You will be at Roosevelt Center. The library and community center are on the left side of Roosevelt Center. Park behind the library. Go through the rear entrance of the community center and take stairs or elevator to the second floor multi-purpose room.
Please bring food or drink to share. Microwave available.
Contact Annie Clark firstname.lastname@example.org Home (301) 474-5009 Cell (301) 675-6969 or Theresa Shaver email@example.com if you have questions.
P. Annie Clark, CNM
Senior Technical Advisor
American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd., Suite 1550
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-6324
Phone (240) 485-1833
Fax (240) 485-1818
January 25, 2005
Dear friends, family and colleagues of Mary Kroeger,
I hope you all are well. Most of you know that Mary died at home on December 15, 2004, at about a quarter to midnight. She was surrounded by loved ones and it did seem to be a peaceful passing. We know people all over the world are mourning Mary’s death, while joyously and graciously celebrating her life.
Mary’s wish was to have her ashes spread on a beautiful piece of land belonging to her and her husband, Robert, near his family’s homestead in Belize. This gathering will be held sometime this year.
We have also chosen to have a day of memorial, on which there will be gatherings held in California and Washington, D.C. This will be on February 27th, a Sunday, which is the day before Mom’s birthday. More details of these events will be forthcoming.
ALL OVER THE WORLD we encourage people to get together to share stories, feelings and hopes surrounding Mary’s life, death and her purpose here in this life. Whether you are alone with her memory, or surrounded by those touched by her spirit, PLEASE LIGHT A CANDLE WHEREVER YOU ARE ON SUNDAY, FEB. 27th, to provide a continuous flow of light and energy, to help usher in what would have been Mary’s 58th birthday.
There is so much more to say but I will end for now, and we thank those who continue to keep Mary’s spirit alive.
Reva Kidd, Mary’s daughter
December 18, 2004
Internationally-active Midwife Mourned
I’m very sad to share the news that Mary Kroeger, CNM, MPH, died on Dec. 15, 2004. Mary and I co-authored the book Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding published by Jones & Bartlett www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763724815. Mary was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cervical cancer in October 2003. She died in her home, surrounded by loved ones. Her family has asked for no phone calls, but cards are appreciated. Please address them to her husband: Robert Armstrong, 7311 Jackson Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912. Mary’s friends and colleagues have a project planned to honor Mary’s life-work. Please contact Ann Brownlee firstname.lastname@example.org or Janine Schooley email@example.com privately for details.
— Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC