Mary Burnside Mangelsdorf

Mangelsdorf—Mary Burnside Mangelsdorf, 91, on October 24, 2018, in Media, Pa. Mary was born on April 3, 1927, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to Helen DeRemer and Malcolm Burnside. Malcolm was a Scottish immigrant who rose up through the ranks to become president of a local department store, and Helen was a nurse. Mary began to love books as a child. She graduated from Wyoming Seminary, an independent school in Kingston, Pa., in 1944, and earned a bachelor’s in history from Swarthmore College in 1948. At Swarthmore, she met fellow student Paul C. Mangelsdorf Jr. while they were volunteering for a Democratic candidate for Congress; they married in 1949 and enjoyed more than 65 years of happy marriage.

They became Quakers in the 1950s. They first lived in Cambridge, Mass., then in Chicago, Ill., and then in Falmouth, Mass. In the 1960s, they were part of a small group that helped revitalize West Falmouth Meeting, which had been founded in the late 1600s but had become almost dormant, open only in the summer. Mary and Paul both remained members of West Falmouth Preparative Meeting (under the care of Sandwich [Mass.] Meeting) for the rest of their lives, although they were also both involved in Swarthmore (Pa.) Meeting. For many years they spent winters in Swarthmore and summers in West Falmouth.

Mary worked for 17 years as secretary for Swarthmore Meeting, where her wide-ranging duties included everything from facilitating meetinghouse rentals to creating the meeting’s monthly newsletter and helping prepare for the annual Swarthmore Meeting Jumble Sale fundraiser. She was a member of the Board of Managers for Friends Journal for more than a dozen years during the 1980s and 1990s, and for many years, she and Paul managed the bookstore at New England Yearly Meeting’s sessions. She was also a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the League of Women Voters, and the Friends Historical Association.

She and Paul moved to the White Horse Village retirement community in Newtown Square, Pa., in 2004. Her many interests included history, Quakerism, choral music, and politics. Books permeated her life, whether she was reading to a small child, working or volunteering in a library, relaxing with a good book, or sharing insights about something she had read. After she gave up driving, she primarily attended Willistown Meeting in Newtown Square, Pa. She remained actively engaged in community, family, and intellectual life until just a few days before her death.

Paul died in 2015. Mary is survived by her four children and their spouses, Helen Mangelsdorf (Roman Tybinko), Paul Mangelsdorf III (Laurice), Sarah Mangelsdorf (Karl Rosengren), and Martha Mangelsdorf (Roy Peabody); five grandchildren; nine nieces and nephews; and a brother-in-law, Clark Mangelsdorf.

Swarthmore Meeting held a memorial service for her on March 30, 2019, and West Falmouth Preparative Meeting held another memorial on June 29, 2019.

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