Mary Gwen (Harris) Averill, 80 years old, of La Grande, passed away on Monday, August 5, 2019 at her residence. At her request, there will be no service.
Mary was born on August 25, 1938 in Wetumka, Oklahoma to Wayland and Juanita (Cadwallader) Harris. She resided in La Grande, OR; Tarpon Springs, FL; Kansas; North Dakota; South Dakota; Iowa; Oklahoma; Missouri; and California. She graduated from Wichita High School West, class of 1956. She later attended University of North Dakota and received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1994.
Mary loved her work as an OT. She was very proud of returning to school as a non-traditional student and earning her degree after the age of 50. She believed it was never too late to chase a dream. She worked up until her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2016.
Mary baked delicious pies and was excited to share them with her loved ones. She was an avid reader and accomplished seamstress. Mary loved to dance. She treasured her time living in Florida. She was especially found of the flamingos. When she moved to Oregon, she decorated her home and “Florida Porch” with pink flamingos. As she fought breast cancer, Mary was grateful to Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida for the excellent care she received. Eating sweets was one of her favorite things. You could always count on a sweet treat if Mary was invited to the party. She told the best stories and could always make people laugh.
Mary is survived by her children, Brad and Sharie Nelson of Fort Pierre, SD; Wayla Chadwick of La Grande, OR; James and Sean Nelson of Topeka, KS; Wende and Don Mai of Nampa, ID; and Stephen and Carissa Schnell of Oxford, OH; 12 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. She was preceded in death by her parents, Wayland and Juanita Harris and husband Charles Averill.