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Mary Rusk

RUSK, Mary - Obit Photo.jpg


Mary liked life and probably would have preferred to live. But her death was a gift. She would be cajolingly scolding and shaking her finger at me to discover I was a proponent of her death but it provided well-deserved relief from her past few years of suffering. 


Born to Helen and Ted Burke-Gaffney in Sheridan, MB, August 1942; the family later moved to Winnipeg. There she lived for more than 70 years, and there she died, January 15, 2023.  As the eldest, she was a quiet leader to her six remaining siblings, their mates, and a myriad of extended family and friends. She was proud to be married to Brian Rusk for 38 years.


Mary was vulnerable but not shy. She was strong in herself and had an inherent attitude of joy and participation in life. Accompanied by a strong sense of curiosity, she would probe people endlessly about their lives. She would enthusiastically explore the world through arm chair travelogues and, her favourite, National Geographic magazine. She would talk to animals in a seemingly gibberish language with the expectation that they fully understood her (and they did act accordingly!).


With her quirky sense of humour, she could play piano by ear, and would spontaneously compose and sing songs, all with rhyming verses. She could playfully give and take teasing. Her witty retorts were hard to match. She participated in a bowling league, watched wrestling for a laugh, was interested in the arts, and enjoyed culinary explorations. All her activities involved others, and that is what helped Mary thrive.


Her community participation was extensive since early adulthood. It began with employment at a vocational workshop. From there, and throughout her life, she served as a volunteer and educator. She willingly advocated for rights of inclusion and equality for people with intellectual disabilities. She travelled to attend conferences, participated on panels, gave speeches and spoke to media. She volunteered with community organizations that served her marginalized companions.


The essence of Mary is that others were her life. She lived simply, loved people unconditionally, and they loved her. Innocence and openness allowed her to be a genuine, accepting, non judgemental human being. That is not to say that she wasn’t opinionated. She could and would call you out on your BS, but did so in a fully forgiving and loving manner. She was a bold and formidable force who endured persistent challenges with courage and kindness.


She LIVED, LOVED, THEN LEFT US. She will be missed.


A heap of gratitude is given to Lions Personal Care Home, second floor staff, for the loving and attentive care given to Mary for the past two years.


There will be no service. Donations, if so wished, can be made to Agape Table.

Mary's family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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