Mary Witcher Athens died peacefully in her home on Wednesday morning, August 7, 2019, at the age of 90.
She was the only child of Robert B. Witcher, M.D. and Doris Horner Witcher. She graduated from Tulsa Central High School and attended Wellesley College, where she was elected president of her freshman class.
Upon graduation she lived with five college girlfriends in an apartment on the upper West Side of Manhattan with one bathroom. The ladies dispersed after a few years and went on to marry and contribute to the betterment of cities all over the county.
Mary married John S. Athens, a young lawyer, in 1952. They enjoyed 43 years of marriage until his death in 2001.
He insisted that no wife of his was going to work for a living. She worked around that mandate. For the rest of her life she spent her time as a community volunteer and actively campaigned for many local politicians.
Mary helped establish the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa with her dear friend, Katie Westby. She was also a tireless advocate for civil rights, most recently with the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation.
Perhaps her greatest legacy will be her love for the arts. Being a lifetime member of the President's Council and director emerita of Tulsa Opera afforded her great joy. She was also a member of the Vivaldi Society of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.
Her causes were numerous, among them Planned Parenthood, the Parent Child Center, the University of Tulsa McFarlin Fellows, Saint Simeon's Episcopal Home, her alma mater Wellesley College, and Yale University.
Her survivors include her sons, Peter W. Athens and Michael C. Athens, both of Tulsa, OK; her grandchildren, John, Zoe and Danielle Athens, and Matthew Duncan Smith. Mary welcomed most happily her great-grandchild, Kennedy Lauren Smith in April, also survived by several nephews and nieces and their families.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, John; and daughter, Susan Ekert.
The family wishes to thank St. John Hospice and Bright Star for making her final weeks comfortable.
Special thanks to Amy Cole, Virginia Mills and to Angelena Williams, her loving housekeeper for many years.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity in Mary's memory.
Memorial Service will be Friday, August 16th, 2:00 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave., Tulsa.
Fitzgerald Ivy Chapel, 918-585-1151