Mary Eileen Conlin was born on May 29, 1948, while her father was serving in the U.S. Army in Korea. Growing up in a military family, by the time she finished high school she had lived in four states, as well as in Japan, Germany, and the Territory of Alaska. In her K-12 years she attended 10 different schools. Her parents ultimately settled in St. Paul, where she finished high school at Our Lady of Peace and graduated from the College of St. Catherine. With her detail-oriented brain, Mary then entered the radically new field of computer programming, and worked as a programmer for Ramsey County until retirement.
As a young woman, Mary Eileen took up swimming, jogging, and kayaking (using a kayak she built with her younger brother Pat.) She often talked of having hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon – “and back up!”
She was a deeply loyal friend, very generous with her time when friends were in need. She was a beloved aunt. She nurtured in her nieces a love of swimming by providing them with an annual membership to the YMCA. She often took them to their lessons, and a big part of every summer was time spent daily in the pool, gym, and racquetball courts. They also fondly remember going to downtown Dayton’s for birthday lunches with Aunt Mary and picking out a toy from the big treasure chest. She gave her nieces and nephews many experiences, including attending the Nutcracker Ballet, the MN Orchestra, the opera, the children’s museum, the zoo, and Valley Fair. She was the “fun aunt.” As the nieces and nephews grew up, she attended their concerts, plays and recitals, and celebrated their achievements and joys. As adults they enjoyed her insights when talking politics and economics.
Mary’s brother Pat, who shared Mary’s red hair, remembers her love of the State Fair. A big part of his family’s life in Wisconsin was looking forward to her visits: she was there for every important holiday and event. Her sister Sue loves how Mary was exceptionally attuned to color: her home was filled with bright pictures and vases of silk flowers, and her love of color led to an absorption with quilting. Her brother Bud remembers with gratitude all of the extras she provided for his girls.
Mary Eileen was preceded in death by her sister Sherri, parents Dick and Becky, and sister-in-law Sue. She is survived by sister Sue, brothers Pat and Bud, 11 nieces and nephews, 14 great-nieces and nephews plus one more on the way. We will celebrate Mary’s life at the Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N 17th Street, Minneapolis, MN on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Visitation at 10:00 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. Memorials preferred to Partners in Progress – Haiti: www.piphaiti.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Eileen Conlin, please visit our floral store.