Mary M. Bean

Mary M. Bean

MADISON – Mary M. Bean, age 84, of Madison, passed away on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.

Many who knew her remember her calm demeanor, good humor, creativity, and wit. Her meticulous planning meant she could relax and allow events to unfold. She often wore a T-shirt that said VOTE and loved the slogan, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

She enjoyed bicycling as a means of transportation, doing her grocery shopping with a bike trailer in the late 70s and in later years could be seen commuting from Monona to downtown Madison on her recumbent cycle. Her bumper stickers said, “Live Simply so Others May Simply Live” and “Share the Road with Bicycles.”

She lived by example and demonstrated her deep dedication to peace/justice/non-violence, community building, and the environment through her volunteer work as a self-described community volunteer. As a child in Rockford, Ill., she studied piano, violin and viola, performing on piano as a soloist on piano with her middle and high school orchestras. She Graduated Beloit College magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, but also studied piano there and worked as a seamstress in the theater costume shop. At Beloit she met her loving husband of 62 years, Robert Bean.

A lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, she served as church organist at 4 different churches, the longest being Monona United Methodist Church. She was active in the League of Women Voters, as local office manager, working on the print voter guide “Candidates Answers” and serving as state chair in the 1970s. She was awarded the Community Shares of Wisconsin’s Backyard Hero Award in 2001 for her volunteer work with the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund.

In addition to Candidates Answers she was moderator for live local and state office forums, deputy voter registrar and past president. Statewide, she served on the board of directors and assisted with publishing the Voters’ Guide. She was dedicated to the league’s voter services and education programs because of her strong belief that citizen participation is the key to democracy, starting but not ending with the election process.

Other projects included a prison release simulation training program through Madison Urban Ministry (now Just Dane), Glendale Neighborhood Association of which she served as president, establishing a teaching garden at Glendale Elementary school, Aldo Leopold Nature Center where she and Bob assisted in prairie burns, Girl Scouts, a monthly singalong at Karmenta nursing home, serving a term on the Wisconsin Public Radio board and volunteering for WPR fund-raising drives and various projects at First United Methodist Church, where she was a member from around 1995 and where she sang in the choir and played handbells.

She enjoyed needlework and sewing, producing tailored clothing and elaborate Halloween costumes for the family as well as artful embroidery and needlepoint. She was our loving mom and grandma.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Bean; brother, John E. Moffatt; son, Ron Bean; daughter, Marcia (Dominique Boucher) Bean; grandson, Emerson Rhoads; step-granddaughters, Elise and Isabelle Boucher; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff of Senior Helpers, and Agrace HospiceCare for their compassionate care.

Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding COVID-19, her planned memorial concert will be held at First United Methodist Church some time in 2021 or 2022.

Memorials in Mary’s name made be made to the League of Women Voters of Dane County Memorial Fund, Just Dane, United Methodist Committee on Relief c/o First United Methodist Church, or Nonviolent Peaceforce. Online condolences, memories and photos may be shared at