Mary Mobley - Unforgettable

The Courtenay and District Historical Society lost a long-time supporter in March with the passing of Mary Mobley (nee Gladys Mary Dingwall, 1919-2012). Mary inspired us all with her generosity, sense of humour and dedication to her family and community.

Mary was part of the Historical Society's executive from 1980 to 2003.

Historian and fellow society executive member Judy Hagen has thoughtfully provided the following reminiscence.

"It was my great privilege to have worked with and for Mary Mobley who was one of the first people I met when I came to the Comox Valley in September 1968. The Welcome Wagon packet included a coupon to visit Courtenay Florist, which was owned by Mary and Frank Mobley. They kindly gave each newcomer a small house plant. I went in on a Wednesday and casually mentioned that I had worked in several Flower Shops before coming to the valley. I had no intention of working until we were settled in. The following Monday, Mary called with a hint of desperation in her voice, nothing ever seemed to fluster Mary. "Judy, this is Mary from the flower shop, Frank has gone to Vancouver and we have a funeral. Can you please come in." It was such a polite and pleasant request. I went in, and did all the funeral orders. Mary was so busy that she only had time to get all the flowers to Piercy's Funeral Home by noon because the funeral was at 1 pm. Apparently, Mary had no idea they had the orders until she had opened the shop and saw all the FTD forms spewing off the teletype. When Mary returned from Piercy's, she sat down and said, "You know what you are doing, can you start tomorrow?" So that was my job interview and I did start work the next day. They were wonderful employers. It was also an incredible way to be introduced to the valley because Mary knew everyone! After all, her family had first arrived in the valley in 1862.

I only worked in the flower shop for about a year. Later, when I joined the Historical Society, Mary was President and I sat on the Executive. Mary was Chair of the City of Courtenay Heritage Commission when I joined in 1995. So I not only worked "for her" but "with her". Over the years I experienced the joys and sorrows of her family. Only a short time before her death, I went to visit her. We spent an hour talking of those joys and sorrows, laughing at some of the really funny moments we had working together in the flower shop. When I left, I was already planning our next visit. But it was not to be. I am just glad that I had those 40 plus years to get to know her."

Mary Mobley (centre) is pictured in a photo that appeared in the Comox District Free Press of October 18, 1978. The image is credited to Trish Halford and is captioned: "Three smiling Rebekah Lodge members tend the counter at the lodge's bazaar and bake sale Saturday at the Driftwood Mall.."