Mary Tombrink Harris, 88

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Mary Margaret was born Nov. 28, 1930 to John Tombrink and Elizabeth Hodgson Tombrink in Kalispell, Montana. She died Dec. 21, 2018. The early years of her life were happily spent at Hori Ranch, two miles East of Whitefish, where her father was manager.

In 1937 the Tombrink family moved to a Stump Ranch on Dillon Road. Mary left Whitefish in 1947 to enter the Religious Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids Iowa, where she served for 19 years. She attended Mount Mercy Academy, Mount Mercy College, and the State University of Iowa, and taught for 16 years before she left the convent in 1966.

Mary and Thomas Harris, Sr. married in Oklahoma in 1968. Most of their life together was filled with travel while Tom worked as a pipefitter. Mary enjoyed settling into each new home, but the Harris home near Whitefish always provided a refuge. Their favorite recreation was touring on their beloved Kawasaki.

After her retirement from teaching, Mary volunteered for the Stump Town Historical Society for 12 years and the Northwestern Montana Historical Society. She interviewed pioneers and captured their stories before they were lost, with the motivation of an old Chinese proverb, “When a person dies, a library dies with him.”

She was preceded in death by parents John and Beth Tombrink, and husband Tom Harris. She is survived by her sister Ruby of Minneapolis, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Special thanks to the staff at the Whitefish Center for their loving care.

Mass of Christian burial will be held Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. at St Charles Catholic Church in Whitefish. Internment at Glacier Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to the Whitefish Community Library or the Whitefish Food Bank. Austin Funeral & Cremation Services in Whitefish is caring for the family.

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