It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mary Wellman on October 24, 2023, following a courageous battle with cancer. Born in Harvey, Illinois, in 1937, Mary was a force of life—a survivor, self-learner, and the best cook anyone could ever ask for.
Mary graduated from Thorton High School, where her natural warmth shone as she waitressed during summer vacations. During one such summer, she met Jim at Flossmoor Country Club. Their love story began swiftly and endured deeply. After marrying, they braved student life together in Purdue’s married housing, where Mary was instrumental in putting Jim through Electrical Engineering school.
In 1980, life led Mary and Jim to Saudi Arabia to work with Saudi Aramco. While Jim served in the Material Supply Department, Mary took a position in the Dhahran Housing Office. She considered her job a blessing, relishing the opportunity to welcome newcomers to a land she herself learned to call home. From the makeshift living in North Camp to the lovely new home in the Hills on Nisah Lane, Mary made every space feel like a sanctuary.
Beyond her professional role, Mary was an exemplary seamstress. Her knack for creating something beautiful out of nothing was her magic. Elegant gowns for herself and clothes for her children were stitched together in the same way she knitted her family—strong, warm, and lasting.
Mary was an adventurer at heart. Whether navigating through Hofuf's traditional markets in the early 1980s or negotiating at the Khobar women’s market, Mary relished the beauty and complexity of her adopted home. A cherished collection of coffee pots and unique finds from her expeditions is a testament to her appreciation of Saudi culture.
Her culinary prowess was legendary. Whether whipping up bean soup with saved pork-store bacon grease or knowing exactly where to find the freshest fish in Dammam, Mary turned each meal into an event, each dish a testament to her boundless creativity.
Mary is preceded in death by husband, Jim Wellman. Mary is survived by her loving sister, Jane; her devoted children, Fred and Tracy; her cherished grandchildren, Lauren, Jennifer, Melissa, Jessica, and Cameron; and a great-grandson, Oliver-James, who will know his great-grandmother through the rich tapestry of stories she leaves behind.
Her light will continue to guide us, her spirit will forever enrich us, and her memory will always comfort all who knew and loved her. Mom, you are deeply missed but eternally present in our hearts.