In Loving

Marjorie Bates Leary

 October 16, 1948-December 23, 2020

LEARY, Marjorie Bates, 72, of Henrico County, died from pancreatic cancer on December 23, 2020.  In anticipating this, Marge wrote:  “I want everyone who has known me to focus on the wonderful life I have had, not my death.  I was born in San Francisco, CA, on October 16, 1948.  My parents were John Howard Bates and Emma Velasco (Bates) Milly.  I was lucky to have two big brothers, John (Jack) August Bates (Elsbeth) and Dennis Robert Bates (Gail).  Jack and Denny know how much I have loved them, their children (Stephanie Wilk, Yana Bates, and Robin Rosenthal), and their children’s families; and I know they have loved me.  I married David Edward Leary on June 11, 1972.  I thank David for giving me a wonderful and loving life.  We were very fortunate to have three incredible children, Emily Bates Leary Chesnes (Matthew), Elizabeth Bates Leary (Darrell Hazelrig), and Matthew Bates Leary (Ann-Marie).  I was also fortunate to marry into a large, loving family, all of whom I have loved in return.  Among the joys of my life have been my four grandchildren, Henry Bates Chesnes, Cosette Bates Chesnes, Eleanor (Nora) Evelyn Leary, and Tess Emmaline Leary.  I graduated from San José State University.  I am so very thankful for the gift of life given to me in 2012, when I received a double-lung transplant that enabled me to spend an additional eight years with David and my family, to be here for the birth of my four grandchildren, to spend time with them, to travel with David, and to have more time with my friends.  My friends, and you all know who you are, have given me support, love, and friendship through good times and bad.  They all meant so very much to me.  Although I say goodbye with sadness at what I will miss, I am joyful and grateful for what I have been able to do and see.  I thank you all.”  Marge’s husband writes:  “Marge was the greatest lover of people that I have ever known—she loved with an intensity, generosity, and genuineness that is truly rare; and her love extended not just to family and friends, but to friends of friends, doctors and nurses, hairdressers and store clerks, people met in passing.  That is why it was so hard at first for her to think of leaving us all (it made her very sad, as she said over and over in those first horrible days), but her greatest consolation was coming to realize (as others already knew) that her love had mattered to so many, and this made all the difference as she faced life’s ultimate challenge with dignity, grace, and courage.  She lived each day demonstrating the power and reach of love, and now she will continue to inspire the rest of us to try to do the same.  The world would be a better place, by far, if we could do this.  All of us know that.”

Because Marge would not want any family member or friend to be exposed to Covid-19, and because her fondest hope was that her young grandchildren might come to know her as they grow up, the family asks, in lieu of a memorial service at this time, that those who wish to celebrate her life and to honor her hope should submit a reminiscence or reflection that will tell her grandchildren, when they grow up, something they should know about their grandmother.  (Submit these thoughts to [email protected].  If you would like a copy of the collected reminiscences, simply request one at the same address.)

Instead of other gifts of remembrance, the family suggests (following Marge’s wish) that donations be made to the Cardiopulmonary Transplant Support Group and Patient Assistance Fund, c/o University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 800265, Charlottesville, VA 22908, in recognition of the eight wonderful years that Marge was able to enjoy due to her transplant and exceptional post-operative care.