Mary Lou DuBois
Mary Lou DuBois, photographed in 1972. Photo: courtesy of the family

Mary Lou DuBois passed away on March 15.

She was born in Brooklyn in 1927, while her father was in divinity school at Columbia. Her parents met while students at the University of Illinois, and they had moved back to the Chicago area by 1929, where her sister, Elizabeth, was born.

When she was about six, her family moved to Southern Arizona, where three years later her brother, Daniel, was born. They lived in and about places such as Nogales and Emery Park, and finally Tucson, where she attended high school.

She attended Pomona College, where she met and married Edmund Ord, and came to Berkeley in 1950.

While she did miss the high desert weather, the Saguaros and the purple mountains, she very much felt at home in Berkeley, and would come to consider it the center of the world. She gave birth to two sons in the ’50s, though her marriage did not last beyond the decade. She became a computer programmer in 1963 and spent spent nearly three decades doing so, beginning at the Department of Public Health and finishing at UC Library Automations, proud of her work on the Melvyl catalog.

In Berkeley she became a member of the Co-op, and spent many years living near the Shattuck Avenue store. In the mid-70s living on what was then Grove Street (MLK), she and her neighbor, Eliene Bundy, organized and took part in the planting of trees for a number of blocks along this corridor.

She came from a musical family and played the piano, violin as well as the bass drum. She adored brass bands, parades and merry go rounds (both the music and the carved animals). She loved the folk music from many countries and joined the Berkeley Folk Dancers in 1963, which led her within a year or two to the Stockton dance camp, where she encountered, if she did not already know, many of main local teachers who became her great friends, such as John Filcich, Gertrude Khuner, John Pappas, Edith Cuthbert, Madelynne Greene and Ted Sofios.

From her early days in Berkeley helping out with theatrical productions for the Golden Hind Company she became a longtime supporter of such places as the Magic Theatre, Berkeley Rep, ACT, the Lamplighters, the Oakland Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Lawrence Hall of Science, Creative Growth Art Center, the SF Academy of Sciences, Legion of Honor and de Young, and organizations such as the Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and ACLU.

She was also a great supporter of local businesses, and greatly lamented the closing of Hink’s. She frequented Mario’s on Telegraph, The Golden Bear on San Pablo, Bott’s on College and MacFarlane’s on Shattuck.

Her last year’s were spent at Bayside Park in Emeryville. She is survived by her son, Donald Ord, her daughter-in-law, Adrienne Schneider, her brother, Dan Du Bois, her nieces, Ptery Iris, Stephanie Yeazell, Nicolette DuBois and Robin Davis, her nephews Renard Du Bois and Paul Du Bois, as well as their respective families.

A memorial will take place for Mary Lou DuBois on Saturday, June 13. Please contact ord@fortlordord.com for details.

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