Obituary: Mary Margaret Isham
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May 18, 1949 — February 3, 2019
Mary Margaret Isham died peacefully, surrounded by friends at home, February 3, 2019 after a 20-year struggle with a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas.
Born May 18, 1949 in Fowler, Indiana, Mary graduated from Indiana University and started her nursing career in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Moving to California in 1974, she worked in the San Francisco city and county jails, juvenile hall, and was founder and director of the pioneering Mission High School Health Center.
A proud butch dyke passionate about social justice, Mary fought for the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and health care for all. She loved clowning and performing, music, cooking and nutrition, Buddhism and Native American spirituality, among other pursuits. She participated in Art for Recovery at UCSF and her artwork is on display at the lobby of Bakar Cancer Hospital, UCSF Mission Bay, through April 30.
She is survived by her siblings, foster children, godchildren and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was grateful to her many communities, including her loving support team and her health care team.
A celebration of Mary's life will take place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley.