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.
How very fortunate we all were, to have known and had-such a wonderful person in our lives. Marge will be sorely missed, but I will remember all the many years of a wonderful friendship if even long distance with fondness.
Marge and I met the first time she came to Richmond. Dave was considering the Dean’s job at the University of Richmond and my job, as their real estate agent, was to entice them to want to live in Richmond. I was assigned to them through my company’s relocation department. From the moment we met, we were friends. Their first Christmas in Richmond lead them to my house with a huge Nutcracker gift for me which I display every Christmas. Shortly after their relocating in Richmond, I invited Marge to visit my book group and she quickly endeared herself to the group and became a regular, active member. Throughout our many book discussions Marge always brought a unique insight. And life happens. Our children graduated from high school, left home, moved away, graduated from college, married, had babies. I remember Marge’s embrace at my husband Bob’s funeral. I remember her caring words at every encounter with twists and turns in our lives. I am left with a wonderful memory of dinner and fellowship with Marge, Dave, And Bill just a few months before Marge died. We reminisced, laughed, and truly relished in genuine friendship and love. She was radiant with beauty and joy of living. A night to remember. Farewell, my beautiful, faithful, and treasured friend. You have earned the best of whatever the afterlife brings.
I met Marge at UVA Transplant Support Group. Marge had her transplant a month before my husband Sam’s. We became friends and Marge was such an inspiration to us. I lost Sam in 2019 and Marge had started calling me during his illness and then after he passed she would call me every Sunday night. They were the greatest conversations and the love she showed me helped me in the months after Sam passed. I loved hearing about her and David’s trips and updates on her growing family. You can tell how much love and joy her family and friends brought to her. Marge was one of a kind and one of the most special, inspiring person I have ever met. My life is so much richer for knowing dear Marge.
Dave and family, you have my sincere condolences on the passing of Marge. Our encounters were not frequent – usually at a University of Richmond gathering of some kind over many years — but they were always friendly. Marage consistently greeted me as as old friend and we enjoyed catching up on the growth and expansion of our families. I know you must have many rich memories of her that will be charished forever. Please know I am thinking of you all in this difficult time and sending wishes for peace and love.
My deepest condolences at this very difficult time to Marge’s entire family. Please know the love that is being sent your way.
I find it rather impossible to consider a particular day or event in our 64 years of friendship that stands out because EVERY time we were together was the perfect day spent! I have indeed been blessed knowing Marjorie (Margie to me) Bates Leary for many years; we called each other “forever friends.” My sister, Margaret Anne, and my brother, Paul, also send their heartfelt sympathies. They remember us well romping around Geneva Avenue in San Francisco!
May peace and continual love surround you all.
Emily, I am so sorry for your loss. I had the honor of meeting your mom at APA and she was such a delightful person. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
I did not know Marge but found her perspective on life so well stated that I feel compelled to comment which I have never done before. She so simply and eloquently described an appreciation of the beautiful things in her life that meant so much to her. Her sense of gratitude for these things brings a perspective that the we the living would do well to keep in mind in our daily lives. I wish for a sense of peace for her family and friends. May many fond memories help with your loss.
I only met Ms. Leary once, but in so doing I could feel the compassion in her spirit. May she Rest In Peace.