Mary Lightbourn

Mary Lightbourn

MADISON-Just after 11 p.m. on April 17, 2017, Mary Lightbourn passed away peacefully at home in bed.

She was born on Sept. 27, 1955, to George and Bernice Lightbourn, loving parents who recognized Mary as the gift that she was. They set out to ensure that Mary had a full and rewarding life and they succeeded.

When Mary was well into her teenage years, her parents, along with many like-minded families, established Orchard Hill where she lived happily and actively for many years. It was there that she formed many life-long friendships. On her journey through life Mary became a graduate of James Madison Memorial, spent summers at Lions’ Camp and participated in many Special Olympics. If you were with Mary the night she left us you saw her many Special Olympic medals proudly displayed above her bed. Don’t let anyone tell you that a Special Olympics medal is somehow less prestigious than one from the regular Olympics. It’s impossible to sum up Mary’s life without mentioning her ability to light up a room. Yes, she was a ham. She loved displaying her cartwheels, singing (especially a unique version of the National Anthem) and dancing. She also loved teasing (never quite able to hide her devilish smile), tickling anyone within reach and untying her brother’s shoes. Most of all, she loved hugging. Oh how she loved hugging. Anyone who got a hug from Mary just never forgot her. And what a sports fan. When she died she was wearing a red Badger shirt, green Packer leggings and had Cubbie blue in her heart.

Mary’s life was made so much better because of the many social workers, job coaches and daily living coordinators who supported her. All of her support was possible because of the generous humanity of the citizens and staff of Dane County. She was fortunate to live in a county that believes in dignity for all of its citizens. Also, special mention should be made of the smart and compassionate support brokers at Catholic Charities.

This past year Jodi Hansen has been a Godsend for Mary and her guardian. Earlier Melissa, Theresa and Katy were warm lights in Mary’s life. Mary has been blessed with not one, but two families. Her first family included her parents, George and Bernice Lightbourn, both deceased. Her soulmate was her sister, Laura (Jim) Mueller who passed away in 2011. Surviving Mary is her sister, Kathie (Greg) Bewick; and brothers, Steve (Colleen), George and Fred (Kathy). In 2013, a second family came into Mary’s life when she moved into a home operated by Comfort Care 4 U. That’s when Zainabu, Abdul, Awa, Oley and Cecelia entered her life. These fine people not only gave Mary great care but just as important, they gave her much love.

We were all fortunate to have Mary Therese Lightbourn in our lives. We miss her every day.

A remembrance and celebration of Mary’s life will be held at the home of her brother, Fred, 5900 Winnequah Rd., Monona, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2017. If you knew Mary, please come. It will be fun.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Dr.
(608) 221-5420