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We remember Mary Nelson

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Mary Nelson, a long time Cambridge School Volunteer with the John M. Tobin School.

Mary was an inspiration to educators, students and our school volunteer community. She was a full-time volunteer and expert mathematics teacher who donated 30 hours per week supporting students in math, grades 1-6. Her tenure with the Tobin School spanned more than 20 years and touched hundreds of students’ lives. She began her volunteer support with CSV in 1991, after retiring from a career in corporate law, and continued volunteering through 2012.

On one occasion Mary’s fourth grade group was preparing for the MCAS test.  When she told the teacher that Friday at 1 p.m. was the only time she could work with this small group, he warned that it was their free time, and that it might be difficult to get them to go with her.  On that first Friday, when Mary came to the room asking who’d like to work with her to do some math practice, everyone barreled out of the class after her.  This was the pattern for the next three weeks.

We were honored to recognize Mary Nelson with the 2008 Mack I Davis II Award for her unwavering commitment, patience, respect and expert attention to the hundreds of Cambridge Public School students whose lives she touched for more than 20 years.  The award was presented by CSV’s Director of K-8 Volunteers, Kasey Appleman.

Mary’s obituary can be found in the Boston Globe.  There will be a memorial gathering on her birthday, next Thursday, October 17, 2:00-6:00 pm, at Harvard’s Loeb House.



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