Mary was born “Marylee Churchill” in Pasadena, California, on March 15, 1951 to Jane and Hobart Churchill. She sadly and unexpectedly passed away on April 2, 2022 due to health-related issues. As a child, she was the third of four children: her sister Susan, and her brothers Howard and Fred. In 1966, at the age of 15, she fell head-over-heels in love with the new kid at school, a recent transplant from the east coast with a Beatle-esque mop top and side-burns so long that Mary’s mother forbade her to date him. Never one to be told what or what not to do by anyone, she followed her heart and married Mike Mugglebee at the age of 20. They honey-mooned up the coast of California, driving through San Francisco along the way to the Benbow Inn near Mendocino. They could only afford the $12 per night room, but they enjoyed being on the road together and discovered a mutual love of nature amongst the Redwoods.
As a young woman, Mary volunteered as a candy striper and for La Leche League, providing guidance for breast-feeding mothers. Mary worked to put her husband through college, selling ad space for a local radio station. Upon graduating, while he began working and attending law school at night, they started a family and moved to the suburbs in Diamond Bar, California. In addition to looking after her children she worked in various retail management positions and also volunteered at a local community theater. In the Southern California 80s, Mary sported short, frosted blond hair and hot pink jumpsuits with shoulder pads. She was fun and funny; a lively, fun-loving wife and mother who created life-long memories for her family and children. She was crafty with a sewing machine, making everything from curtains to placemats to costumes for her children to put on theatrical performances. Holidays and memorable vacations were often spent with nearby family and cousins or in Hawaii. Music was always in the background, and she and her husband loved to garden and entertain. She was a loving and devoted mother to her three children: Molly, Lauren and David, who eventually provided their parents with six grandchildren to lovingly dote on: Tyler and Kate, Olivia and Samantha, and Stella and Dylan.
Her love of travel led her to accompany Mike on several business trips, one of which was to the Pacific Northwest where they fell in love with the picturesque and laid-back charm of the Puget Sound near Seattle. Mike’s career led them to a brief (two-and-a-half year) stint in Ridgefield, Connecticut, where penny-loafers, linen pants and Eileen Fisher sweaters became her new style. Mary cultivated a passion for water-color painting and browsing through antique furniture stores. She dove deeper into her love of travel, cooking and interior design, and, of course, there were always stacks of books to read and a garden to care for.
Another career move out west brought Mary and her family to Moraga, California, where she and Mike have lived for the past twenty-nine years. Leather sandals, shorts, denim shirts and gardening gloves. Together, she and Mike planted a grove of fruit trees, hundreds of rose and plant varieties and designed and installed extensive walking pathways.
When she wasn’t getting her hands dirty in the garden, she taught herself how to successfully invest in the stock market. The rest of her time was filled with grandkids, travel to London and the east coast, books, cooking, home design, movies, and her unending interest in politics.
Three years ago, she and Mike made their way back to the Puget Sound to fulfill their life-long dream of owning a vacation home on Whidbey Island. During the pandemic they emerged as road-warriors, making the 14-hour drive up and down the west coast in one day, reliving their romantic past between both homes, still madly in love after 56 years, so that they could tend not just to one garden, but two. Mary is survived by her husband, Mike, and their children, Molly, Lauren and David, and she will be loved forever and forever missed.
To plant a tree in memory of Mary Mugglebee, please click here.