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The End of the Journey


Major Mary Bryce Wilson Nooney. November 7, 1923 – February 17, 2017.

I don’t have much to write at the moment. My mind is numb, my thoughts scattered and unfocused. But, I wanted to share my mom’s obituary with you:

Mary B. Nooney, age 93, passed away peacefully at her home in Aurora, Colorado on February 17, 2017.

She was preceded in death by her father David B. Wilson, her mother Anna W. Sullivan, and her beloved husband of 33 years, John F. Nooney (1924-1980). She is survived by her son, John Francis Nooney II and his husband, Julian S. Flores (both of Aurora, CO). She is also survived by her beloved niece and nephews, Rosella Patenaude (North Kingstown, RI), Michael Conley (Middletown, RI), and William “Billy” Conley (Middletown, RI). She is also survived by numerous cousins.

She was born November 7, 1923, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She received her BA from Bryant University (Smithfield, RI), and her MA from University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)

Her father died when she was 7 years old. Shortly after his passing, she got her first job at J.P. Coates Thread Company. She operated the machine that wound the thread around the spools. As the Great Depression caused companies to rise and fall, she worked at a variety of factories.

During World War II, Mary joined the Army: The Women’s Army Corp. After the war, she went to work for the phone company as a switchboard operator.

One evening at the end of November, she was invited to a party that some of the women she worked with were going to. It was at that party that Mary met John Nooney, a 23 year old sailor, from Sioux City, Iowa, who was stationed at Quonset Navel Base, located at Quonset Point, RI. A week later, he proposed to her. They had planned to marry in the summer of 1947, but John kept moving up the date. They married January 23, 1947 – seven weeks after they met.

Shorty after they married, my dad decided to leave the Navy and join the Army. During the following 13 years, they lived in Germany, Hawaii, San Antonio, Washington DC. In 1960 they were stationed in Aurora CO, at the now closed Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center. In 1961 they bought the house that Mary would live in until her passing.

Mary was also an Army Reservist, doing her 1 weekend a month/2 weeks per year of service. When she retired, she had earned the rank of Major, something that she was very proud of – she was so proud of it that she wishes to be buried in her Army uniform.

Mary lived a full life: she married her true love; she lived in many places around the world; she had many, many great friends; she was loved by many.

The energy force that animates our body (call it a soul, or a spirit, if you will) has left her body. But she’s still here: alive in the minds and memories of her many friends and family.

“You’re on the other side I know,
But I still hear your voice
Behind the door.

I’ll meet you where the stars and the sun run out of sky.
Where the memories of our lives collide.
Where the time won’t run away.
Where the moment never dies”

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Mary’s name to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.


There’s a story of the last few days, and a story about …well, I’ll save it all until I write the stories.


For now, I’ll leave you with a song, released in 1991, that from the moment I heard it, reminded me of my mom. It’s a song I’ve played many times over the last weeks and months. I’d like to share it with you:


8 thoughts on “The End of the Journey Leave a comment

  1. Dear John,

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Even while you and I and everyone knew it was coming, that doesn’t really lessen the loss of such an amazing woman. I’m so glad you shared her obituary, as it gives a form to her earlier life, which, I think, is how we would all like to be remembered.

    There is a song that has helped me through many losses, and it makes me smile thinking of my parents and my sisters, imagining what bird form they’ve taken.

    May you and Julian soon be able to think of your mom with more smiles than tears.


  2. What a lovely tribute to your amazing mother, John. We all have a story and hers was of a life well lived. Well done, good and faithful servant.


  3. A life of worth


    I know words

    can seem empty of meaning

    during times of grief


    But my family is sending

    all our love to you

    and your family



    please take care


    keep loving yourself


    you are worth it


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