Mary Colleen Baird passed away unexpectedly on October 31, 2018. The most important thing about Mary, the thing that really made her special, is her complete and awe inspiring love of people. She loved everyone. If you knew her and you are reading this right now, she loved you. She loved you genuinely and without judgment and wanted nothing more for you than for you to be happy. Please know that.
Mary was born in Burley, Idaho, to Manon and Martha Hillis. She spent most of her young life in Boise, Idaho. It was in Boise, while working as a carhop, she met the love of her life, John (“Jake”) Chester Baird. Mary and Jake shared 42 years together until Jake passed away of cancer in 2001. Jake often joked that Mary couldn’t run into the store for a jug of milk without it taking at least 25 minutes. This is so true. She always ran into someone she knew because she knew so many people. It would never cross her mind to avoid someone so she could continue on with her shopping. Instead, and no matter how busy she was, she would smile with that huge warm smile of hers, wrap her arms around you and tell you how happy she was to see you. And she was. Although Jake and her children were sometimes annoyed by this, they were also so incredibly proud of her and knew they were lucky to have her in their life.
What also made her special was her incredible desire to take care of those she loved. She went above and beyond. Jake was a carpenter and Mary packed his lunch every day and went so far as to peel his oranges before she put them in his lunch pail. He built houses, but apparently could not peel an orange. You can imagine the teasing Jake received for this from his blue collar co-workers. She made breakfast, lunch and dinner for her family every single day, and their meals were spent at the dinner table discussing their plans for the day or what happened during the day. It must have been difficult to do this every day, but you would have never known it. She never complained and seemed to love doing this for her family. When Jake passed away and the kids moved out, she often expressed how difficult it was to cook for one person. She sincerely missed cooking for everyone.
Jake and Mary’s union created two children, Jerry Reed Baird and Carrie Louise Baird. Mary was a stay-at-home mom until her children were in their teens. No one experienced Mary’s capacity for love and care more than her children. She was a devoted mother. Her kids could count on warm baked goods when they returned home from school every day. She wanted them to know she missed them while they were gone. She spent hours reading with her children on the couch. It must have been hard to fit this into her day, but it was important to her. Their elementary school report cards make note of their love of reading. Thank you mom, this was truly a gift.
Mary loved her in-laws more than anything in the world. Mary lost her mother at a very young age. She was raised by her father and her grandmother and only had one sibling, her brother Jerry. Although she was well fed and well cared for, being raised without a mother is a loss that no child should experience. When she married Jake she married into Granny and Grandpa Baird’s family. They were the salt of the earth and loved her like a daughter. She felt blessed to end up in their family. Jake had five brothers so Mary now had a family with five brothers and sisters-in-laws. After coming from such a small family she could not believe her luck. There were so many good times, holiday dinners, camping, motorcycle rides and picnics. There was always someone to have a good time with and Mary loved to have fun. Mary fit in perfectly and experienced the kind of unconditional love that every person deserves.
Mary worked more than 20 years as an accountant for the Nampa Housing Authority. This was a significant part of her life. She loved working there and made lifelong friends with many of her co-workers. Mary retired from the housing authority in 2007 at which time they named their Administrative Building after her to commemorate her many years of service. One of her bosses said that Mary brought him his coffee every day. He told her she didn’t need to do this but she wouldn’t have it. It was important to her to do these little things. She wanted everyone she loved to know how special they were to her.
The only thing Mary loved as much as people, were animals. In the same way she left no person un-hugged, she also left no animal unfed. Her heart was so big. She couldn’t turn away an animal that needed a full belly and a warm place to sleep. We take solace that she is now reunited with her many pets in Heaven. A special thanks to the warm and loving people at Blayney Veterinary Hospital, in Caldwell, Idaho. You are truly angels on earth.
It is no surprise that Mary was a good neighbor. She was a neighbor who smiled and waved when she passed you on the street. She always had time to share a laugh. She would want to acknowledge her friends from Missoula Way (a shout out to the Hoadley clan – you are the best), and her many friends on Boulder Avenue. The people from these neighborhoods meant the world to her.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Jake, her grand-daughter Kristina, her brothers-in-law, Bill and Terry, her mother and father-in-law, Elizabeth Margaret and Melbourne Jack Baird, her father and mother, Manon and Martha Hillis, her stepmother Grace, her nephews Stanley Michael and Michael Shay Baird, and her niece Jenny Baird.
She is survived by her son Jerry, her daughter Carrie, a close family friend who is like a daughter, Diane Hoadley, her daughter’s boyfriend Cory Whitford, her grandson Allen, her daughter-in-law Sally, her brother Jerry Hillis, her incredibly loving brothers-in law, Stanley, Hurley and Steve. She is survived by her sisters-in law, and partners in crime (okay maybe not crime but definitely mischief), Chloe, Joyce, Pat, Twila and Gail. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved with all her heart.
Mary spent the last years of her life worshipping God at the Lakeview Church of the Nazarene, in Nampa, Idaho. She loved the church and the people she met there became an important part of her final year. A service will be held with these wonderful new friends on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at 11:00 am, at 608 14th Avenue North, in Nampa, Idaho, 208-466-0112. Please join us to celebrate her life and your memories of Mary.
Although the sun dimmed on the day of her passing, it gains strength and grows warm again in her memory. We love you Mary, more than you will ever know.