Saint John Baptist de La Salle described the Lasallian mission as one that "touches the hearts of its students." Among those in the long history of at Peralta Park, Berkeley, who certainly touched hearts - every heart that came through the doors of De La Salle Hall and later, Saint Joseph's Hall on the school campus - was Mrs. Mary Woodson, who served as School Secretary for twenty-six years, from 1962 until 1988.
Mary passed away peacefully after a long illness with her family by her side on Sunday, July 15, 2012. She was 86. Her long career at Saint Mary's included her role as the mother of two alums, Dennis '68 and Steven '70, both of whom predeceased her, in 1994 and 2010, respectively. Her husband, Dean, beloved by many as perhaps Saint Mary's biggest basketball fan ever, died in 1996. Mary is survived by her two sisters, Dorothy and Lois Ann and their families, grandson Paul Woodson of New York, and her daughter-in-law, Ramona Woodson of Gilroy and her seven children.
Mary was a resident of El Cerrito for over 50 years and a devoted member of in the city. She moved with her family from Iowa to Berkeley in the early 1940s and worked with her sister Dorothy at the Richmond Shipyards during World War II – true Rosie Riveters.
At her 1988 retirement party on the Saint Mary's campus, Mary was honored with the announcement of a new Scholarship in her name. Mary remained a faithful member of the Belles, attending every annual spring social until this year when illness prevented it. Her nearly-annual attendance at the school’s Crab Feed kept her busy as dozens of alums and parents stopped by her table to visit. She also tried to attend the many class reunions she was invited to by alumni. Her devotion to Saint Mary's High and the Christian Brothers was deep and steadfast. Mary and her family were a wonderful gift to the Saint Mary's community. We are blessed and ever-grateful.
Funeral services and burial were held Thursday, July 19, 2012 at Saint Joseph's Cemetery in San Pablo.
Jeanne Gray Loughman is a member of the Saint Mary’s College High School staff.