Mary was born to Gladys Naomi Geren and John Theodore Orincak on Sept. 7, 1922, in Chester, W.V., the second of three daughters. Her father passed away when Mary was 5 years old, so her mother was left to raise her three beautiful, talented girls. The three sisters had beautiful singing voices and sang at many school and community functions. They also sang for the local radio station.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ted Tibbetts enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Florida in 1945 where Mary was working in the war effort as “Rosie the Riveter.” They met at the wedding of her friend and Ted’s friend. Two days later, Ted and Mary were married. When Ted was shipped overseas, Mary came to live in Moab to be near his family. After the war they moved to Logan, where Ted finished his college education. After he graduated, they moved to Moab and in 1955, both took teaching jobs in the Grand County schools.
Mary also graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree, then later completed requirements for a master’s degree. She began teaching second grade at the (under construction) Helen M. Knight Elementary in the fall of 1955 during the uranium boom. When Southeast Elementary was completed in 1957, she moved there and continued as a second-grade teacher for a total of 32 years in the classroom. She was respected by other teachers and parents and loved by all her students. Her classroom was always filled with students whose parents had requested her. And, when a child enrolled who needed special attention, the principal knew exactly where to place him or her, and Mary was able to help those students who needed her special kind of nurturing.
Ted and Mary homesteaded 10 acres in Spanish Valley and built a lovely big log home. The only things lacking were children. Their first child was a beautiful baby girl they named Teri Ann. Four years later, another beautiful baby girl, Tami Deane, was added to the family. Now Mary’s life seemed to be complete, a husband of her dreams, two wonderful children, a beautiful home and a career she dearly loved.
She was a member of the LDS Church and was active there until a fall in 2011 that made it hard for her to get out and about. However, she kept in touch with her friends in the ward and was able to help with home teaching records. She was always very conscientious about any task she was given.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her older sister, Lily. She is survived by her daughters, Teri Ann Tibbetts and Tami DeaneTaylor; son-in-law, Patrick Taylor; three grandchildren, Ashley Ann (Scott) Hinckley, Austin Ted Taylor and Jessica Deane Taylor; sister, Clara Crook; brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Hallie Tibbetts; sisters-in-law Betty Tibbetts and Bonnie Tassler; many nieces and nephews; and loving friends.
At Mary’s request her body has been cremated. There will be a memorial service at a later date.