Brand building through storytelling

My Mother – Mary Brady Piton

Born in the Edwardian era, Mary was thoroughly modern in most respects. As a secretary in Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s, she used her vacations to travel to California, Canada, Mexico and several times on Caribbean cruises. She often travelled alone, and I attribute my love of travelling alone to her.

Her most memorable cruise was in July of 1939 on the S.S. St. Louis of the German American Line. On her previous voyage, the ship had wandered around North America and the Caribbean with an unwelcome boatload of Jewish refugees from Germany. The captain defied orders to return to Germany, and at last four other European countries agreed to accept the passengers. That trip became the subject of a book and movie called Voyage of the Damned, and Mary was interviewed for the book.

She was nearly 40 when I, her only child, was born. Mary became an active volunteer, a dedicated homemaker and strategist who assisted my father in his career in baseball management. She was founding president of volunteers at the largest Catholic hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where we lived.

Genealogy was another of her interests, and she traced her family back to the 18th century in Ireland and my dad’s family to the 16th century in Jersey, Channel Islands. To honor her grandfather, a Confederate veteran, she compiled and published a list of Confederate dead at a Columbus cemetery.

In her mid-80s Mary decided to move to an apatment near me in Montreal. Two years later, she returned to Columbus to live out the rest of her life. Throughout a life that ended at 92, she continued to make friends. When she died, most of her closest friends were younger than me. Her wit, generosity and open-mindedness meant she never seemed to grow old.

Margaret Piton’s website:

Posted by Margaret Piton

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