Mary K. Obenour, 92, passed away peacefully in her home on January 27, 2021 with her loving family by her side. Born on Thursday, May 4, 1928 in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Mary was the firstborn daughter to Gordon Cummings and Ruth Duncan Alexander Kirkpatrick.
Mary was a woman who never lost her thirst for knowledge and obtained several degrees during her lifetime. She received a nursing degree from Royal Victorian Hospitals in Montreal, Canada and later a degree in Library Technology from Ohio University. Mary played a major role in establishing Friends of the Library, a volunteer organization supporting MCLS. She was later appointed to the Muskingum County Libraries Board of Trustees and served as president of the Ohio Library Trustee Association.
Mary was employed as the Director of Continuing Medical Education and Library Services at Bethesda Hospital where she also was a member of the Auxiliary to the Medical County Medical Academy. She was involved in many charitable endeavors including Good Samaritans Meals on Wheels, Avondale Adopt a Child Program and served on the board of the YWCA.
Mary was one of the very first Recipients of the prestigious YMCA Woman of Achievement Award. She received the Aldine Roach Flegal Special Recognition Award for her work in support of the Muskingum County Library System.
In 1953 Mary married the love of her life, Dr. Sterling “Obie” W. Obenour MD, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Their chance meeting during a summer vacation in Canada led to a 3-year pen pal relationship and courtship that culminated in their marriage. Shortly after marriage they were off to Cleveland for Dr. Obenour’s surgical residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland. After several moves, they settled in Zanesville where Dr. Obenour began his practice of medicine with his father, Mary stayed home to raise their four children during their younger years, but eventually returned to work in the libraries of the West Muskingum School District and later back as a nurse in the office of her husband.
They retired in 1993. Mary and Obie enjoyed travel and when they weren’t exploring the United States, where a lot of trips Mary was Obie’s co-pilot in their plane, they were off on many pleasure and educational trips. They traveled to Egypt, Kenya, Argentina, Southeast Asia, England and Scotland, Australia and New Zealand as well as the Galapagos Islands. They loved wintering in Hilton Head, South Carolina, but felt they were missing out on their grandchildren’s activities so returned to Zanesville full time.
Mary was known for her excellent seamstress skills and shared her talent with her children, grandchildren, family and friends and the residents of Primrose. Mary was known for making clothes for her children and grandchildren, their dolls and elaborate play tents. She was quick to lend a hand when an emergency arose for formals, wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses at the last minute. The elaborate Christman stockings that she made will be forever cherished for years to come. She was coordinator of a book club at Primrose and was a member of the Authors Club, past member of the Zanesville Country Club, Dolphin Head Country Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina and is a member of Grace United Methodist Church.
Mary is survived by her children, Kathryn (Chuck) Miller of Berkeley, California, Scott (Robin) Obenour of Zanesville, Bruce (Jillian) Obenour of Dublin, OH and Laura (Terry) Dunn also of Zanesville; her adoring grandchildren, Wyatt Miller, Teal (Eli Austin) Miller, Jessica (Chris) Alverez, Sarah (Dr. Adam) Martin, Kyle (Stacey) Graham, Reid (Khanh Bui) Graham, Abbie (Angelo Sanchez) Obenour, Kathleen (Mo) Salem, Bennett Obenour, Hannah (Francisco Illabaca) Dunn, Marlayna (Donny) Lewis and Dr. Bryaden Dunn; One of Mary’s greatest joys was becoming great grandmother to Nora, Nash and Graham Martin, Paige and Elizabeth Salem and a great grandchild on the way. They will miss her famous story hours and educational gifts. Mary is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents and husband, Mary was preceded in death by, her sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Donald McLeod.
The family would like to thank the staff and nurses at Genesis Health Care and Hospice and the wonderful friends and staff at Primrose who were so supportive in the final days.
A cremation has taken place and no calling hours will be observed. A private burial will be held at a later date at Zanesville Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the John McIntire Public Library. Being a huge advocate for literacy, they would ask that you open a book, read to your children, explore, or learn something new in memory of Mary.
The Bryan & Hardwick Funeral Home, 2318 Maple Ave. Zanesville is in charge of the arrangements. To share memories and condolences with Mary’s family please click the Tribute Wall tab on this page.
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