The Daily Me


GUILFORD AND ALBUQUERQUE, NM, On January 15th, Guilford native, Mary Cunningham Wider, 80, died quietly at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe, NM on the second anniversary of her husband Henry’s death, daughter Susan by her side.

A forty-eight year resident of Albuquerque, NM, Mary is survived by daughter Susan and partner Bill Junor of Santa Fe, New Mexico, daughter Sarah Ann, husband Bruce Ward and granddaughter Faith Elizabeth of Hamilton, New York, by her sister Doris Stantial of Wilmington, Massachusetts, and by her many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. Daughter of Mildred Lord and James Donald Cunningham, Mary was born in Guilford, Maine on July 9, 1924. After watching her close childhood friend Sally French struggle with a serious illness, Mary dedicated herself to the nursing profession. She graduated from the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1945, and worked in public health nursing and also in innovative hypertension research with the Smithwyck Foundation in Boston.

In 1946, she met Henry “Hank” Wider, then of Columbus, Ohio, at Susquehanna Boys Camp in Pennsylvania where he was the riding instructor and she the camp nurse and the only person in camp with hot water. (His steady need for hot water developed over the course of the summer.) Mary and Henry were married on December 24, 1950 in Mary’s home in Guilford, an event Hank nearly missed due to a blizzard. They worked in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania for Hank’s sister Ann Avlon of Avlon Inc. and then moved to Albuquerque in 1956 where Mary declared herself a “Mainer in exile.”

Active in her daughters’ school and musical activities, Mary particularly enjoyed helping children develop a love of reading, especially in her volunteer work at Albuquerque’s Yucca Elementary School library. Interested in American history, she built a fine collection of nineteenth century children’s toys, books, and periodicals, an interest she enjoyed sharing with Faith, her granddaughter. Faith was a wonderful source of joy, and she relished their conversations. One of Mary’s greatest pleasures was in giving, and in later years she delighted in philanthropic work, contributing financial and also moral support to organizations in both Maine and New Mexico.

Her family suggests that memorial gifts for Mary be sent to the Guilford Historical Society; P. O. Box 893; Guilford, Maine 04443 or the Guilford Public Library; P. O. Box 177; Guilford, Maine 04443. Private graveside services will take place at a later date. Arrangements by Aspen Funeral Alternatives, Albuquerque, NM, 505-323-9000.

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