Mary Leither

Obituary of Mary Margaret Leither


Mary Margaret (Marielle) Leither, 67


She would show up on Saturday mornings to Big Fish Lake, throw on a bikini and some Hawaiian Tropic, and jump in the water.  Her father, George, would fire up the speed boat.  “Hit it!” she’d yell, and erupt out of the water like a dolphin.


We’d be standing on the end of the dock.  She’d pull hard and careen toward us.  She’d straighten, shift, and carve, sending a fan of water in our direction so heavy we’d lose sight of her, distorted behind a prismed wall of water and mist.


Those were good days, when Mary’s strengths—her beauty, intelligence, frugality, gregariousness, negotiating, and will power—kept her afloat, and had yet to become weaponized by her lifelong war against mental illness.  An award-wining seamstress in high school, she got her degree in textiles, and worked stints in interior design and advertising, aspiring to be a designer.  She loved fashion, and became more quirky as she aged.  She was beautiful and knew it.  At fifty-five she’d say, “I look the same as I did at twenty!”  She had vehicles in many different states.  She had so many different first names you might think she was a spy.  Boyfriends everywhere.  Enough stuff in her apartment to fill three more.  Maybe six.


To attempt to understand Mary was to first accept the intricacy of her psychology, knowing you were always seeing her through a prism of conflicting angles and colors.  The saddest we saw her was in her last years, sinking uncontrollably into the depths of her illness, nothing able to pull her out of it.  The happiest we ever saw her was moving out beyond herself—with friends, on holidays, at weddings, on the beach and in the lake.


Remember this.  Her dad swings the boat back home toward the dock, where she pulls wide and releases the rope, gliding elegantly in toward the shore.  She loses speed, slowly descending into the mirrored lake.  A smile that could curve up the edges of the horizon is on her face, the last thing we see before she sinks beneath the surface.


Mary’s parents were George and Marilyn Leither of St. Cloud, Minnesota.  She is survived by her brother, Thomas (Deanne) Leither, and her nephews Nick, Luke, Max and their families.  She died at age 67 on June 15th, 2024 at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park from complications of pneumoniaShe will be cremated, followed by a private ceremony.




A Memorial Tree was planted for Mary
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society of Minnesota
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