Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mary Trombly Bailey

Mary (Molly) Trombly Bailey of Ketchum, Idaho, and Seattle, Wash., died Friday, May 14, at the age of 65.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., on Aug. 29, 1944, to Lawrence Trombly and Mary Virginia Stocker Trombly, Molly was the first of four children and the oldest of 11 cousins who "worshipped her" and remember her fondly as the instigator of many fun and mischievous adventures.

In 1953 Molly's family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, and although she wasn't born there, she always felt that Hawaii was her home. She attended Sweet Briar College in Sweetbriar, Va., and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966. During college, Molly met her husband, John; they married and settled in Alexandria, Va., where they raised their two children, Calista and O'Connor (Connor).

At the age of 50, Molly went back to school and attained her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from George Mason University. After graduating, Molly worked as an RN and also as a volunteer for the Visiting Nurses program in Alexandria and Arlington, Va., where she was once called "an angel of mercy" for her kind and compassionate service to the elderly.

Molly and John moved out West in 2001, settling first in Seattle in a houseboat on Portage Bay and then in Hulen Meadows in Ketchum. Molly loved the Northwest, particularly for its stunning natural beauty and open-minded people. She adored her grandchildren and was an exceptional tutu (Hawaiian for "grandmother"), always sharing her curiosity and joyful spirit with her family and her darling Lucy.

Molly found her spiritual home here in the Wood River Valley through her meditation practice and involvement with her sangha (meditation group). She formalized her commitment to Buddhist practice by taking refuge vows at a retreat in April 2010 at Soldier Mountain with Cally Huttar and Dana Marsh. Molly also participated in multiple-day silent retreats with her teacher Anam Thubten, which she found both incredibly fulfilling and challenging. Being silent was difficult for Molly—she would often write little notes or mime joy to her fellow retreat participants, pointing out a perfect snowflake or rare bird she had sighted.

Molly had a vivacious zest for life that she expressed in everything she did. She loved meeting new people, had numerous lifelong friendships and was devoted to her family. Molly loved learning about and exploring the natural world and completed many naturalist courses. From the tiniest sea creature to the mighty orca, from an indigo bunting to the gray wolf, Molly wanted to know every last detail and she wanted to share it with others. Her sense of wonder was infectious and she had an amazing gift for making ordinary moments special. Some of her happiest moments were spent exploring the Hawaiian reefs and tide pools on the Big Island with her family and friends.

We will remember Molly for her generous spirit, her gift for bringing people together and her compassionate love for all living creatures. She will be deeply missed by her husband of 42 years, John; her daughter, Calista Carter and husband Tim of Ketchum, Idaho; her son, Connor Bailey and wife Katie of Denver, Colo.; her sister, Hillery Gunther and husband Erik of Honoka'a, Hawaii; her brother, Peter Trombly of Haliewa, Hawaii; and her grandchildren, Lucy and Jude Carter.

A celebration of Molly's life will be held on Wednesday, June 2, at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum. Molly cared deeply about many things, but the SeaDoc Society—a nonprofit organization that protects the sea life and ecosystems of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea—was the organization whose work she was most passionate about. She was a board member and longtime advocate. If you would like to remember her, in lieu of flowers please contact them at

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