Mary Carolyn Yates was born on June 29, 1948 in Knoxville, Tennessee, daughter of James and Carolyn Yates. She grew up in and called Swannanoa, NC “home.” This is where the 200-year-old (still occupied) family homestead is located, called the Alexander Inn. Mary was proud of her family history, her heritage, and the work she did to rebuild the Inn and to obtain a National Historic Site designation for it.
Mary passed away peacefully on Oct. 5, 2021 after a four-year long battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer. However, she would never be defined by that cancer.
Mary attended Virginia Commonwealth University and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1970 and her Masters Degree in Counseling Education in 1972. She also went on to obtain her PhD in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Ed, which she earned at the University of North Texas in 1983.
Mary held higher ed administrative positions at the University of North Texas, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She also taught in the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program at UCCS. Mary was very active in her professional organization, the Association of College Unions International.
Mary loved wildflower hikes, dog walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, stirring the chili pot (“Somebody has to do that!”) for her wife and ski buddies, and spending time with her precious community of friends and family. She also loved to read, research, write and travel.
After 21 years together, Mary and Colette officially married once it became recognized and legal throughout the country. On Sept 17, 2021 they celebrated their 5th Anniversary.
Mary is survived by her wife, Colette Berge, sister Lynne Gheesling (Joe), brother Jim Yates (Denise), sister-in-law Maria King; nieces Sara Melito (Michael) and Chloe Gheesling, Carol Goetschl (Michael), Becky Tamblyn (Jeff); nephews Mark Yates (Suzanne) and Jeremiah King (Susie), 11 great nieces and nephews, a myriad of cousins, and a loving cadre of friends, colleagues, and former students.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Friday, Nov 5, 10:30 a.m. at the Copper Mountain Chapel, 630 Copper Road, Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Memorials may be made in Mary’s honor to the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society of Summit County (Frisco), or the Pikes Peak Humane Society (Colorado Springs).