Eulogy for Mary O'Neill Rush
by Kathy Butler McDermott
St. Mary Magdalene Church
Wilmington, Delaware
May 24, 2004

Like the rest of you, I've spent a lot of time this past week thinking about Mary and I've tried to put into words what it was that made her so special.

It should have been easy, I've known Mary more than 30 years...the old days at St. Marks, the summers as camp counselors, the beach trips with Judy and Karen and the countless hours spent around the legendary O'Neill kitchen table...I certainly had plenty of material, buteverything I came up with to describe Mary was completely inadequate.

Sure she was a tower of energy and a blast to be around, but she was so much more.

She was caring and loving and infinitely nurturing, but she was so much more.

And she was oh so very funny...but she was so much more.

No one word, sentence or story could begin to do her justice.

I remembered an assignment I had in Freshman English in College where we were supposed to write an essay comparing and contrasting two similar yet different things. To Mary’s delight, I wrote about my friend, Mary O'Neill.

My essay began like this...Both of my best friends are named Mary, though one prefers to be called Eugenia, her middle name. Eugenia is a spark plug, igniting energy and fun wherever she goes. She doesn't look for the humor in
a situation, she brings it with her. Eugenia was our high school class homecoming queen. Her one-of-a-kind personality has no doubt won her a place on many people's most memorable character list.

I went on to write about my other friend, Mary, who is quieter and more reserved than Eugenia. She enjoys engaging in long thoughtful conversations with her closest friends and family. She believes strongly in causes and allows herself to worry about everything and everyone. Mary is a fiercely loyal and dedicated friend. She's got a heart as big as all outdoors and she shares it with unparrralled generosity.


Believe it or not, I only got a B on that paper- something about punctuation-but I know how blessed I was to have both Mary and Eugenia in my life.


But true to form, Mary was so much more.

To her parents and Cathy, Chris and Matt, to the Davies and the rest of
neighbors she was Marigene. Marigene-the devoted sister and daughter,

But she was so much more

She met and married Andy, the love of her life, and she soon earned the name that was most important to her, she was Mom.

But over the past several days in Washington D.C.,
I again learned that Mary was so much more.

I learned Mary Rush was a woman of great faith, and a community leader
who drew hundreds upon hundreds of people to honor her life.

I was introduced to Mrs. Rush...an innovative, energetic and respected
educator who was renowned as much for dancing in the cafeteria and
pulling teeth as for her teaching. Mary pulls teeth, why was I
surprised?


She was Marigene, she was Eugenia, she was Mom, she was Aunt Mary, she was Mary O'Neill and she was Mrs. Rush... she was so many things to so many people, and the truly amazing part is that she managed to find a way to give 200% to each of these roles. To use France's term, she did them all Mary-style.

It's kind of hard for me to believe that Mary was just one person, because to all of the many, many people whose life she touched,
she was so much more.


Kathy Butler McDermott (Wilmington, DE )