RIP Mary Heyssel Bumgarner (4-2-1926 — 12-11-2016)

Mary Posing

RIP Mary Hessel Bumgarner. Born April 2nd, 1926. Died December 11th, 2016.

AKA Mom.


Many have asked how Mom wanted to be honored and remembered. She had three causes that she actively supported in the past years and asked that others support them as well.

For straight donations, please support The Food Bank of Central Missouri or a like minded organization in your area. Alternatively, Mom supported The Rainbow House and encouraged others to do the same.

In more recent years, Mom was very vocal in her support of The Slow Food Movement. She asked that we encourage everyone to join.


Not just Mom to her three children, but a matriach.. a muse… an advisor… a mentor… a critic… a master chef… and many many more roles to many many people.

While I — we — will miss her and we do grieve, she would tolerate no sadness in this passing. Mortality is unavoidable and her’s was a life fully lived.
She lived a 90 year long life that can only be called extraordinary. She spent 67 of those years happily– nay, passionately– married to my father, Roger Bumgarner, a man whose compassion, strength, humility and patience is equally as extraordinary.

Beyond all the people whose lives were enriched by knowing her, she left a legacy of many stories. Stories that underscore that up until her last breath, she did it her way. And stories that we can all learn from and, in so doing, if we act upon their lessons, the world will be a better place.

Stories that ultimately center largely around a few central themes.
Be kind. Through kindness, you’ll find friends and gain knowledge in the most surprising of places.

Be curious. Everywhere you look — truly, everywhere — there is something to be learned. New science. New art. New patterns. New ideas. New ways. Open your mind and it will be enriched.

Be accepting and kind. No religion, no skin tone, no orientation, no nationality, no age, nor any other difference means automatic condemnation. Every person deserves a chance.

Embrace change as it is the nature of the world. To do otherwise, is to be left behind.

Think. Observe. Experiment. Problem solve. Debate. Argue. Embrace being wrong. Correct. Move on. Repeat. Share.

Be generous. Not just with money, but with your time. Share your knowledge and experience with others. Catalyze growth in those new to the world. Encourage their creativity and interests. Mom was a muse to many, sometimes directly and oft indirectly. Many a career was accelerated, if not made, because she provided a bit of guidance or support at a critical time.

A wonderful woman has left this world. The world, though, will reap the benefits of her presence for years to come.


A quick word on that photograph. It was taken a couple of years ago, well after her COPD diagnosis and many many months more life than anyone was led to expect (Mom did not like to be told what to do).

If you know Mom, you know that she absolutely hated having her photo taken. I was surreptitiously trying to get a decent photo a couple of years ago and she was, as is usual, giving me lens melting glares of disapproval.

Finally, she said, “I’m going to die soon and you’re going to share a photo of me with everyone. I’ll be dead, I won’t care if it is bad or not, but… here.. I’ll pose once.” Credit to Christine for teaching Mom a proper pose.

May we all live a life so full of adventure, love, beauty, and so totally on our own terms.

Miss you, Mom. So long and thanks for all the fish (and everything else).



5 Responses to “RIP Mary Heyssel Bumgarner (4-2-1926 — 12-11-2016)”

  1. ann blystone says:

    Love this.

  2. BWJones says:

    Bill,

    My warmest regards and empathy for you and your family. Mary Hessel Bumgarner clearly left an indelible mark on this world through her influence and family. Knowing you, I see how we are all better off for her time on this Earth.

    Sorry Bill.

  3. Dan Wood says:

    What a beautiful tribute. Sounds like an amazing person.

  4. Amie says:

    It’s almost silly to mention this, but the thought kept coming back to me every time I thought of your mom’s passing: your mother made the best ever scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. And she made me think more creatively about cooking from that moment on. May she rest gently.

  5. Sharon McDonnell says:

    Mary was a lively and alive woman who did many kind things for me and my family. She was also wickedly funny with some of my favorite one liners. I have many wonderful memories of her.. My deepest and warmest regards to your dad and all of you that miss her.
    Sharon

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