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Mary Ella Carson Brodie ’49, MAT ’65

A picture of Mary Carson Brodie

Mary Ella Carson Brodie ’49, MAT ’65, November 11, 2011, in Portland. Mary spent her first year of college at Willamette University. She was skeptical about attending Reed for her second year, even though she thought well of the school and knew that living at home in Portland would save money. “At the end of the first week, I was committed to Reed. I have never regretted that choice. The curriculum, the professors, the friends I made, all have enriched my life more than I ever could have imagined,” she wrote many years later. After graduating with a BA in general literature, she moved to San Francisco—a big adventure for a young woman from the Pacific Northwest, she said. After three years, she came back to Portland, and worked in public welfare and also for the state in higher education and human resources. She earned a master's degree in teaching from Reed, and spent 12 years as an instructor in English, Spanish, and typing at Wilson High School in southwest Portland. Her love of hiking led to her joining the Mazamas in 1957, and it was on a hike in the Columbia Gorge in the early ’70s that she met Laird C. Brodie ’44. Since leaving Reed, he had married and raised a family of three. He was teaching at Portland State University and playing French horn for the Portland Opera and the Marylhurst College orchestra. He also enjoyed outdoor activities. The couple married in 1974. “A year or so later, I stopped teaching, learned to make bread, and for the first time tried being a homebody.” Mary and Laird enjoyed music; hiking with the Mazamas in the U.S. and in Great Britain and South America; and several unforgettable ocean canoe outings near Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Mary was a member of the Reed College Women's Committee, the alumni board, and the Foster-Scholz Club. Survivors include Clark and Greg Canham and members of Laird's family.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2011

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