Mary R. Polancih

MADISON-Mary R. Polancih passed peacefully in her sleep at home on March 19, 2019, at the age of 70.  

She was preceded in death by parents, John and Doris; and sister, Peggy.  She is survived by her sister, Linda of Redford, MI., numerous cousins and many very dear friends.

Mary was born in Michigan, but her home and heart were in Wisconsin. She relocated in 1971 to start her “first” career as a Special Education Teacher for students with physical disabilities in the Madison Metropolitan School District.   Over the course of her long teaching career she was involved in many organizations devoted to helping her students: Council for Exceptional Children, Division for Physical and Health Disabilities, Wisconsin Federation Council for Exceptional Children, United Cerebral Palsy of Wisconsin, and many more. Her ‘second’ career was as a community volunteer for local and state organizations including RSVP (a ride service to medical appointments,) The Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association, Madison Teachers, Inc. and MTI-Retired and Olbrich Gardens.  She was passionate about local politics and participated in East Side Progressives forums.

Mary was also a Master Gardener and created beautiful gardens in her own yard. She was very active with the Madison Herb Society, Hosta Society and Hardy Plant Society.  In addition, she was a member of the Olbrich Botanical Society, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy and the Royal Horticultural Society.

As a myeloma patient, she was active in the Wisconsin Multiple Myeloma Support Group and was determined to increase awareness about myeloma. She helped push state and national representatives to support better health coverage for all: “No one should have to survive cancer and medically induced bankruptcy.”  

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the LAKE EDGE LUTHERAN CHURCH, 4032 Monona Dr., Madison, fellowship room, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., with sharing of memories at 2:30 p.m.  Attendees are welcome to bring an appetizer or dessert to share.  Beverages will be provided.  A private burial will precede the celebration.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a cause that helps the environment, children or progressive causes. Mary's favorite charities included United Cerebral Palsy, The Nature Conservancy and the Trillium Fund – Madison Myeloma Support Group. 

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

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