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A Final Farewell to a TMI Client Who Was an Absolute Gem

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Birds flying above horses in black and white

Mary was a quiet and usually reserved woman who typically kept to herself, but warmed up once she got to know and trust those in her life. She loved horses and had some on her property when she was a child. She also loved watching and reading about birds and was a proud member of the Audubon Society, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to conservation, in her younger days. A Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) client for more than 12 years, Mary passed away at the age of 83, just a few weeks shy of her 84th birthday, in her own home with her TMI family by her side.

Mary, who had cerebral palsy, loved to read anything and everything. Each week she looked forward to picking up the San Diego Reader in order to have something new to read. In what she called her “retirement years,” Mary enjoyed watching TV shows such as The Price is Right and concerts on PBS in the evening. As it became more difficult for her to get around, Mary loved to go for a drive with her TMI staff around the more rural areas of Vista to look at horses and wildflowers.


“It was a great opportunity to get to know Mary and hear her stories of growing up in Vista, CA,” said TMI Case Manager Monika Driscoll. “Mary did not care for large groups of people, but loved the tranquility of her partially secluded home. I’m glad to say that we were able to keep Mary living in the place that she felt the most comfortable and safe as she aged and until her passing.”

Mary received assistance from her TMI Supported Living Services team which included Monika, as well as her TMI direct staff Facilitators Blanca Plaza (recently retired) for more than 12 years and Marciolyn Gaynor and Lucia Moreno for five years. TMI’s Supported Living program assists individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to live independently or with paid support.

Birds soaring high

“I can truly say that it was a pleasure to assist in the care and well-being of Mary,” said Marciolyn. “She was an absolute gem to be around. Although Mary didn’t speak much, she would express herself to the people she felt comfortable around. I’m glad that I was one of those people. I had much laughter from her jokes and enjoyed her caring and comforting words when warranted. I miss Mary tremendously. Rest well, Mary.”

We hope you are sailing high above the clouds, Mary.

(Mary was a private person and we will continue to honor that. Rather than share photos of her, we have shared photos that we think she would have loved.)


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the deaf and hard of hearing since 2000. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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