ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Mary Ownby 89 years old , born on May 17, 1931 and passed away on June 20, 2020. We will remember her forever.

We will have a virtual memorial service for Mary Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 11:00 AM with the Rev. Taylor Stevens leading the service. We invite all of you to join us for this service by connecting your device to the world wide web and going to the site of Unity of Palm Beaches website. You may click on this link to go to the church website.   https://www.unitypalmbeach.com/  At the top of the website beneath the Unity of Palm Beaches name there is a banner with a number of choices starting left to right as Home, Livestream, Ministries, Calendar, About, Buy Now, Give, Blog and Sign in. To connect to Mary's service click on the word "Livestream" a few minutes before 11:00 AM and you will connect to the service.
Posted by Bernadette Wright on July 21, 2020
Held my hand as I cried my eyes out over Jack. Her sweet " ok" let me know that maybe things would be ok after a while. She called at least once a week to make sure I was ok. Saved me a seat next to her in church and held my hand tightly all through services. Visited Jack and made him smile. When Jack died she made sure I knew she was always available to listen and that she loved me dearly. I am very sure that Jack was with her as she died holding her hand just like she held mine so many times. I am also sure that he walked her home.
Posted by Joann Harrison on July 20, 2020
For over a year, I would tell Mary that the little red "Unity Uber" would be at her apartment to pick her up for our drive to prayer circle with Rev. Taylor. We would swap stories, debate and ponder, play a bit of verbal volley-ball, (where I learned she was ever quick with a quip), but mostly laugh - a lot.
What fun we had! Those weekly roundtrips became treasured time for me. So many meaningful Mary moments. (and there was not one occasion where she failed to say, "You know, Taylor is like the son I never had.")

Precious Mother Mary was an angel to so many. She had a profound effect on countless lives. She spread love and light and positivity to everyone she encountered. Her constant comment to me was "We are so blessed." But, Mary, each of us was blessed by having you in our world. Your beautiful song will live on through all the lives you have touched.

If I had only known the last time I dropped her off that it would be the last time - I would have hugged her longer!

I will miss you, Mary.
Posted by Wayne Elliott on July 19, 2020
Mary was the typical "bridge over troubled waters" with her quick understanding and helpful solutions to conflict. She was a thoughtful, helpful person in a building with sixty different answers to problems. Her understanding and quiet resolutions will be missed. Her light humor always took the "edge" off differences in opinion.
Posted by Pat Barnes on July 16, 2020
I first knew Mary when she used to come to the County Home, where I worked, with Taylor and other people from the Center for Living, to visit the residents and bring snacks. Because they brought big blocks of cheese, they were known as "The Cheese People". Mary was very loved by everyone. Then when Taylor became our minister at Unity of the Palm Beaches, I got to know Mary again. She was always such a happy, shining light. We volunteered together for Unity at the CROS Ministries Food Pantry on Tamarind Ave in West Palm Beach. Mary gave herself the job of Greeter and she would sit in the waiting room with all the people and talk to them and love them all. If there was a day she had to miss, everyone would be asking "Where's Mary?" I know they will be upset when we finally reopen and she's not physically with us, though I know she will be watching over us all. Mary's favorite saying if you tried to talk her into something she didn't want to do, was "No is a complete sentence." The condo complex that she lived in is named Paradise Harbour and when Mary would leave to go home she'd always say "I'm going home to Paradise!". And now she truly is in Paradise, and I can see her laughing and greeting her loved ones. And when it's my time to go, I hope she's one of the first to greet me and show me the ropes! Love you, Mary!
Posted by MARY JO WRIGHT COSTELLO on July 8, 2020
SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, WAY UP HIGH, WE WILL SEE MARY,OFTEN.
SHE WAS AND STILL IS MY DEAREST FRIEND, WE LIVED TOGETHER AT ROSARIAN ACADEMY, I TAUGHT AT ST. ANNE'S, THEN LATER WE LIVED TOGETHER AND TAUGHT FOR TWO YEARS AT CARDINAL NEWMAN HS, WE EVEN RAN THE BOOK STORE TOGETHER..EVERYONE LOVED MARY AND SHE LOVED US BACK. WE WERE TOGETHER FOR OVER FORTY YEARS IN MANY PLACES, NY, ADRIAN, VIRGINIA, WPBEACH, ETC. SOMEWHERE IN THESE TRIBUTES I WROTE ANOTHER TRIBUTE TO MARY AND HER FAMILY AND DEAR FRIENDS, Can't find it!!!! Any way my deepest love and support and my husband Joe's too go to MC and her family and dear students and friends. Her best buddy, Taylor said it so beautifully. "Everyone needs a Mary!!" HERE IS A GOODY"What made us friends in the long ago when First we met? Well I think I know;The best in me and the best in you hailed each other because they knew , that always and always since life began, OUR BEING FRIENDS WAS PART OF GOD'S PLAN"
                                   George Webster Douglas

Posted by Phyllis Lucas on July 6, 2020
Sister George Elizabeth, Mary Catherine, changed my life. I stood in her office at Rosarian Academy, when I was 15 years old, and she said, "God has sent you here." Yes. And last year, I told her that she did change my life. She was powerful, and terrifying at times, and I loved her. Rest In Peace. And, thank you.
Posted by Melanie Mooers on July 3, 2020
Rosarian Academy. 55 years ago, my bed in the dormitory was positioned across from Mary Catherine’s bedroom (for obvious reasons). Sick, with a hacking cough one night, she was disturbing my sleep. So I charged unannounced into her room with tissues, cough syrup, lozenges and the stuffed animal off my bed- a white Westie complete with plaid tam & matching jacket- for comfort. No Florence Nightingale, I said “Here- take these!” and exited. I’m not sure which of us was more startled at the breach of etiquette and protocol, but she continued to tell that story at every opportunity when introducing me to someone. I reciprocated by introducing her as my former teacher; a nun who left the convent to marry a man she met in prison. As she told me a few years ago, “I have done it ALL!” Indeed, you have. I miss you so much.
Posted by Joanne Kelly on July 2, 2020
reading all these about Sr. George Elizabeth - Mary....recognizing many of you- Taylor Steven's tribute so expressive-thanks to you all and to the very person this centers on. What a gal. Taught with her at Rosarian, knew of her from my brothers who had her as a math teacher, and then later in contemplative prayer group-there she was with Taylor. People who uplift us - may we all, once this Covid is over, experience more of love and uplifting. No longer with Mary in person, but she will still uplift us in even a more special way-her spirit with that face-that is what I will remember. What a sense of humor. God is enjoying her even more now.
Posted by John Considine on July 1, 2020
So there I am in first year of seminary at Unity Village in 1998 and I get a letter from someone named Mary C. Ownby. It is gushing with enthusiasm, love and support for me going to seminary. It was the best letter ever.  Only problem, I had no idea who Mary C. Ownby was. Fortunately she had included her phone number in the letter so I called her.

"I'm GE, John....Sr. George Elizabeth!!" She told me how, after she taught me - no tried to teach me - algebra at Cardinal Newman, she had gone to Rosarian Academy. And then some time left the Dominican Order and started attending Unity!!  Rev. Taylor Stephens was her best bud she told me. Coincidence of coincidences, Taylor was a one time partner to my former mentor and best friend Rev. Richard Barnes, RIP. 

And thus began a loving and wonderful friendship. You might appreciate this, Dennis and family members, in one of our chats I confessed to her that, I, along with most of the guys in our class, had a crush on her... for even in nun's habit she was amazingly attractive. And I asked her, "Mary, I always assumed you were like 7 or 8 years older than us...so you would have been like 24 when you taught me in 1964?"  She got a big kick out of all of that and amazed me by saying she'd been in her mid 30's then!!  Good genes,good living, and a lot of love in her heart, just shone through.

I'm sorry I didn't reach out to you more often Mary..... I will now.  Please help us. Thank you my dear.

And Mary, I know you know this from The Traveler, by James Freeman
She has put on invisibility.
Dear Lord, I cannot see 
But this I know, although the road ascends
And passes from my sight;
That there will be no night;
That you will take her gently by the hand
And lead her on
Along the road of life that never ends,
And she will find it is not death but dawn.
I do not doubt that You are there as here,
And you will hold her dear.

Posted by Donna Winterson on June 30, 2020
Mary, “Sister George Elizabeth”. was a truly special individual Who was treasured by her students. It was also very enjoyable to engage in conversations with her on the phone or in person as we went on with our lives after graduating from Cardinal Newman. Rest In Peace.
Posted by Joe Griffin on June 29, 2020
Sister George Elizabeth taught me who Pythagoras was, taught me how to do time/distance problems, and taught me that solving for 'x' will drive your decisions. She taught all of us that--and more. We passed that to our children, our grandchildren, and on, and on.....she touched countless lives.
JG CNHS '63
Posted by Lorraine Smith on June 29, 2020
I was a boarder at Rosarian Academy for 5 years graduating in 1965. I remember Sister George Elizabeth patiently trying to teach me algebra and geometry. I totally had a mental block when it came to math but she was persistent in her endeavors to knock some sense into my pea brain! She did it with grace and an encouraging smile!
RIP Sister..
Posted by Dave McIntosh on June 29, 2020
Sister George Elizabeth was a memorable positive influence on many young lives, including so many of my life-long Crusader teammates, classmates and friends. In her secular life, she stayed in touch with many former students. She attended our celebratory events at the 50th Anniversary of CNHS's opening and she was a speaker at the Memorial that we held in WPB for Terry Dee at St. Ann's. It was a true pleasure, delight and honor to have learned from and known her. She was a free spirit who's even more free now. RIP, Mary Catherine.
Posted by Betsy Vaughan on June 28, 2020
Mary lived with us at Paradise Harbour in North Palm Beach, she was our Mother, sister, friend, and psychiatrist. We can't let her go just now so we had to write one more letter to her. Dear Mary, who can say for certain maybe your'e still here. We feel you all around us ..your memory so clear. Can it be you are ours forever and watching over us from above. As our hearts hold you just one beat away....we cherish all you gave us..because you are ours forever. With great love, your Paradise Harbour family
Posted by Blake Mason on June 27, 2020
Mary (Sister George) was truly a one of a kind educator! She always seemed to be smiling and obviously was born to be an educator. She taught my sister at St Anne’s HS and my brother and I at Cardinal Newman. I was privileged to speak to her again during my class reunion (class of 67). My God bless Mary and May she rest in heavenly peace.
Posted by Ann Geier on June 26, 2020
I am a 1967 graduate of CNHS. When I was in 10th grade, I had Sr. George for homeroom, algebra, biology, and geometry. She had a profound influence on me. She was young, energetic, a great teacher who knew how to give constructive criticism while not tearing people down. It's hard to believe she was 18 years older than our class. She seemed much younger.
She came to our 50th reunion, and we were all so pleased to see her. We hoped she would be able to attend our quarterly get-togethers, but that was not to be. The world is not the same without her.
Posted by Sherri Jones on June 26, 2020

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Mary Catherine when she returned to Rosarian to help us out when one of our math teachers left during that year. She subbed for us for awhile and I joked with her at each visit about coming back again to sub. She always greeted me with that sweet smile and a laugh, her way of saying maybe not.

She deserves the peace and joy she gave to those who knew her. I will always be grateful for having known her.

My love to her family, Sherri Jones
Posted by Pat Mason Jones on June 26, 2020
I was a student at St Ann HS in. West Palm Beach FL. I was blessed to know Sr George Elizabeth as an algabra teacher. She made it easy to understand and was always available with a smile when you needed help with a problem. It was my pleasure to meet her again many years later when she attended one of our class of '61 get togethers. My prayers are with her family.
Posted by Rick Douylliez on June 26, 2020
May the comfort of God’s love and those who care for you bring the peace that passes all understanding.  Rick and Cathy

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Bernadette Wright on July 21, 2020
Held my hand as I cried my eyes out over Jack. Her sweet " ok" let me know that maybe things would be ok after a while. She called at least once a week to make sure I was ok. Saved me a seat next to her in church and held my hand tightly all through services. Visited Jack and made him smile. When Jack died she made sure I knew she was always available to listen and that she loved me dearly. I am very sure that Jack was with her as she died holding her hand just like she held mine so many times. I am also sure that he walked her home.
Posted by Joann Harrison on July 20, 2020
For over a year, I would tell Mary that the little red "Unity Uber" would be at her apartment to pick her up for our drive to prayer circle with Rev. Taylor. We would swap stories, debate and ponder, play a bit of verbal volley-ball, (where I learned she was ever quick with a quip), but mostly laugh - a lot.
What fun we had! Those weekly roundtrips became treasured time for me. So many meaningful Mary moments. (and there was not one occasion where she failed to say, "You know, Taylor is like the son I never had.")

Precious Mother Mary was an angel to so many. She had a profound effect on countless lives. She spread love and light and positivity to everyone she encountered. Her constant comment to me was "We are so blessed." But, Mary, each of us was blessed by having you in our world. Your beautiful song will live on through all the lives you have touched.

If I had only known the last time I dropped her off that it would be the last time - I would have hugged her longer!

I will miss you, Mary.
Posted by Wayne Elliott on July 19, 2020
Mary was the typical "bridge over troubled waters" with her quick understanding and helpful solutions to conflict. She was a thoughtful, helpful person in a building with sixty different answers to problems. Her understanding and quiet resolutions will be missed. Her light humor always took the "edge" off differences in opinion.
her Life

Memorial Service

We will have a virtual (live streamed and archived) memorial service for Mary Ownby on Saturday,  July 25, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT. This will be led by Rev. Taylor Stevens of Unity of the Palm Beaches Church. As soon as the link for the service is available it will be sent by email and listed here. Please feel free to share with anyone would knew Mary. 

Obituary

Mary Catherine Beyschlag Ownby, 89, North Palm Beach, FL, daughter of the late George C. Beyschlag and Gladys E. Landon Beyschlag of St Clair Michigan passed away Saturday, June 20, 2020.She was pre-deceased by her sister Rose and brother George.Mary Ownby, was the wife of the late Dillard R. Ownby.

Mary Ownby graduated from Adrian Academy in 1949 and Siena Heights College with majors in mathematics and physical science.She was a member of the order of the Adrian Dominican Sisters(Sister George Elizabeth) forthirty years.She taught at Saint Ambrose High School, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, and other schools in the Chicago and Detroit areas prior to being posted in Florida where she taught at Cardinal Newman High School and Rosarian Academy in West Palm Beach.She served as Mother Superior at Rosarian, prior to returning to teaching math and physics at Cardinal Newman.After leaving the order, she was the Principal of the school at the Women's Maximum Security Prison where she met her husband Dillard Ownby, teacher of horticulture.

She is survived by cousins Catherine, Michael, Pat, and Dave (Margaret) Landon of Michigan. Also, Dennis Ownby (Helen), St. Marys, GA; David (Stacy), Dylan and Colin Ownby,Reisterstown, MD; Kathryn Ownby, York, UK; Raymond Ownby (Michael), and Bruce Ownby(Sharron), all of Ft Lauderdale, FL, sons and their families of Dillard who considered her their second mother and grandmother.

Mary kept in contact with many of her former students, particularly ones in the Palm Beaches. She lived in Paradise Harbor for the past twenty years and served on the condominium board in various positions. She was a member ofUnity of the Palm Beaches church.A virtual memorial service will be celebrated at later date.
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Shared by Gary Polette on June 26, 2020
Mary (Sr. George Elizabeth) also taught at St. Ann High School in WPB probably from 1958-1961 when the school closed.  She was my favorite and most remembered teacher from my high school math classes. (Hard to believe she was only 12 years older that her students at the time.)  Greatly enjoyed spending a few minutes with her at our 50th high school class reunion in 2011. She will be missed. 

Everyone Deserves a Mary by Rev. Taylor Stevens

Shared by Dennis Ownby on June 25, 2020
It ended the way it began.

No one could point an index finger quite like Mary.

I met her in a small coffee shop across the way from the spiritual center in which I was then employed. I entered midmorning to get a cup of tea and was cheerily greeted by name by the owner and barista. A small yet mighty woman stepped out from behind a bookcase and asked of me” so you are Taylor?” I replied in the affirmative. “You are the reason I moved here.”

After a brief explanatory conversation, she pointed her index finger right at me and declared “you should teach a class on The Seven Spiritual Laws.” I took a moment or two to stare down the barrel of that finger and matched her sense of authority as I said to her “maybe YOU should teach a class on The Seven Spiritual Laws.”

She stepped back ever so slightly as her mouth opened and her eyes danced. She would later report that in that moment she knew she had met her match.

We were inseparable from that moment on.

We traveled together. We prayed together. We built and maintained spiritual community together. We cried and grieved together. We spoke literally every day. And oh, did we laugh together. We shared deeply and loved relentlessly. Beginnings, endings, holidays, milestones, even hurricanes. All together.

Our final encounter was through a window of a care facility on the occasion of her eighty-ninth birthday. It took quite a while for an aide to get her into a wheelchair and then roll her over to the window. Our eyes met and oh did hers dance! It was a look I knew well. It was a look of love beyond any I knew before or will likely ever know again.

Everyone deserves a Mary.

It did not take long during that brief but blissful final face to face for that finger to start pointing. Thanks to a sister in spirit who arranged for our birthday encounter I even have a photo of it. The photo is slightly blurred, but the memory is emblazoned forever.

She was beyond frail. She struggled to hear and seemed slightly confused. The protective mask slipped in and out of place until she finally just pulled it off. I do not recall what point she was emphasizing as she punctuated it with the same intensity as she had decades before. She pointed that index finger at me, and the frailty and confusion were gone in a flash. Mary was back. Mary was strong and prayerful and funny and loving. And though she belonged to countless other beings in that moment she was mine and mine alone. That look and that index finger were reserved for me. The history and all of our countless shared adventures were all held within that moment.

And I rightly suspected as I left that I would never see her again.

I would ponder later if that precious, yet crooked finger was telling me to go. To go and to live and to be and to serve. To move on without her. As if I could ever be without her. As if I ever will be without her. “Go, she seemed to say.” “I can go no further. I can live not much longer. You go ahead. Remember our times together. The travel, the prayer, the community, the tears, the laughter. Yes, never forget the laughter.”

Every ensuing phone conversation there was a little less of Mary. Our final chat was really a monologue. The only thing that she said with unmistakable clarity and authority was “I love you.”

And then came that fateful diagnosis.

Covid 19.

She reportedly collapsed shortly after our last conversation. Then it was ICU. Total hearing loss. No visitation or communication. A short but surprising rebound. Back to ICU. And then hospice.

And then she was gone.

So many have decried her dying alone. I get that, at a level. But Mary was never alone. She was totally plugged into her Soul. She was surrounded by her own luminous being. And the person in front of her rapidly became her best friend.

I am well aware that I am writing these words from a place of only slightly underlying disbelief. Though eighty-nine I had long thought Mary would preside at my memorial. Which she would tell me was her worst of all fears.

That I would go before her.

I am grateful to spare her that. And I am now left to come into a relationship without my Mary by my side. For those prone to platitudes, please spare me that. I know she is with me in spirit. I know our Souls will one day merge again. But spirits and Souls do not eat most of a shared dessert. They do not ride in a car through familiar terrain as if they had never had such a pleasure. They do not purse their lips when they sign a tab or enter all rooms like everyone there was eagerly awaiting to celebrate her arrival. They do not laugh in hoots or yawn like lions. And they do not point their index fingers in ways that completely defy apt description.

They do not look at me with a look that speaks of adoration. Pure, unconditional, relentless adoration.

We had three disagreements in twenty-two years. I am grateful for those, for they told me that what we shared was real and unbreakable. And after the heat the look remained. The laughter returned. The love deepened. There was no backdoor on this friendship. Except the one she took on Saturday.

So, Mary has moved on to another room where everyone will cheer her arrival. It will not take long for the laughter to roar and the finger to point. She will hog the desserts and not understand half the jokes. But she will laugh just as if she had. Really laugh. Just for the sake of laughter.

And I will go on. Mary is forever a part of me. I will always live in that loving gaze. I am forever changed and there is no going back. I have been loved by love. A love that can never, will never die.

Everyone deserves a Mary. I will spend the rest of my life being that for others. That will be my living memorial. I will love like Mary. Live like Mary. Pray like Mary. Give like Mary.

Thank you, Mary. Thanks for all the years and all the laughs and all the prayers and all the points. You are the best friend a person could ever have. It feels somehow hard to believe I deserved you.

But then, everyone deserves a Mary.