Mary Hayden Burgess, 98, died peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday, June 23rd at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.
She was born on July 21, 1920 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the second child of Joseph Ralston and Elizabeth Hall Hayden. Mary spent her younger years in the Philippine Islands when her father, Joseph Ralston Hayden was a visiting professor at the University of the Philippines and again when he was appointed vice governor of the Philippine Islands in 1933-1935. She graduated with a history degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1942. During World War II she joined the American Red Cross as a staff assistant in England and on the Continent. Mary met the love of her life, Henry Burgess, in 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington. They married in Ann Arbor after the war, January 1946. Henry returned to law school at the University of Michigan and after graduation they moved to his hometown of Sheridan with their two children, Sheridan and Molly. They had four more children and raised their family on the Pony Track Ranch east of Sheridan. After Henry’s death in 1995, Mary lived in Denver, Colorado for four years before returning to Sheridan where she continued to be active in the arts and published her autobiography, “Both Sides of the Canvas”.
Mary was a prolific artist working in all mediums over many years and active in the community. She was president of the Sheridan Artist Guild; Wyoming Artist Association; PEO Chapter B; the Sheridan County Hospital Auxiliary; and Chairman of Sheridan County Rural School Boards. She also served on the boards of the Sheridan County Hospital, Sheridan Fine Arts Club, and Sheridan Artists Guild. She became a juried member of the prestigious Sumi-e Society of America, the Pastel Society of America and the American Watercolor Society, participating in their exhibits in New York City and Washington DC. She remained to the end an enthusiastic member of Sheridan Book Review and became a 70 year member of PEO.
She is preceded in death by her husband Henry, by her parents, by her sister Elizabeth Pearson, brother, Ralston Hayden and daughters Sarah Louise Burgess and Molly Burgess Mooney. She is survived by her children Sheridan Burgess (Lindy) Wyarno, Wyoming; Tyler Burgess, Eugene, Oregon; Heather Plank, Sheridan; and Jamie Burgess (Rita) Cora, Wyoming. Her grandchildren are Sara Cole (Bill Barnes) Seattle, Washington; Damon Cole (Susanna Vega) Quito, Ecuador; Sam Burgess (Erika) Sheridan; Hank Burgess (Lexie) Gillette; Peter Burgess (Sarah) Sheridan; Matthew Mooney (M’Lynn) Houston, Texas; Hayden Mooney (Emily), Denton, TX ; Raby Plank (Kelsey), Denver, Colorado; Joe Carney (Erin) Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and Tess Carney (Tim) Lyttleton, New Zealand. Mary adored 18 great grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery Masonic Circle on July 20th at 5 pm with the Reverend R. J. Johnson officiating. Reception follows at the Historic Sheridan Inn. Champion Funeral Home is entrusted with local arrangements.