Blogger’s note, April 28, 2018: This tribute to my sister’s friend Mary was written today, just a few hours before this evening’s Celebration of Life. Mary was 59. The Celebration will be held at my mom and sister’s house. Mary was my sister’s best friend.

Ernest Hemingway famously said that courage is grace under pressure.

When I think of Mary Owen these past three years that quote always springs to mind.

When she came here to 231 Lime Circle South, to the home of her dear friend Karen for Thanksgiving and Christmas, she was the epitome of grace and courage under the most overwhelming of circumstances.

Yes, Mary knew she was dying. Yes, she knew she had bile duct cancer. Yes, she knew it wasn’t fair.

We don’t want to focus here on how she died. We want to focus on how Mary Owen lived. This is called a Celebration of Life.

She was a stylish, vital, elegant, classy, intelligent career woman, a multi-lingual marvel who was fluent in French and German and also spoke some Italian and Russian. She traveled the world and loved New York City and Paris but hated cold weather.

Most people here know that. Most people here knew Mary better than I did.

“What a girl,” Karen said earlier today.

Karen knew her well. They were, as Karen often said, besties, the best of friends, pals who went on cruises together to far shores.

Karen called her the shenanigator, a made-up word that focuses on the word shenanigans. Mary’s nickname was Champagne Mary. That was our Mary.

She wasn’t a beer and a shot type of woman. She was class and champagne, not Budweiser and cheap whiskey.

There was nothing cheap about Mary.

Karen will talk about their friendship later, about cruises, Broadway shows, trips to Milan and San Francisco and other places far from Tarpon Springs and Dunedin.

Others her knew her well, far better than I did. That includes family members and dear friends such as Yoli and Bob Sturm, who are here at 231 Lime Circle South to celebrate the remarkable Mary Owen. Mary met Karen and Yoli at an Italian language class at Fossil Park in St. Pete.

This house in Dunedin was like a second home to Mary. Karen and her mom and her brothers and Uncle Don and son David were like a second family to Mary.

She was always welcomed here. And the graceful, elegant Mary always arrived bearing the finest of food and wines.

Thanksgiving meant her famous creamed corn. Her Christmas arrival at the front door here always included a dish called Buche-de-noel.

What is that?

I have no idea.

Karen and her mom and brothers were blessed when Mary parked her little, green 1999 BMW in front of 231 Lime Circle South.

Why did she drive that BMW?

She had a style.

She liked the finest of wines such as Caymus.

Why Caymus?

She had style

Why did she dress elegantly?

She had style.

We’re only seven months away from another Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving for many years meant Mary Owen. It meant Mary Owen showing up impeccably attired. No shorts or jeans or T-shirts for Mary Owen

No, sir.

Not for Champagne Mary.

Not for this elegant woman. She dressed like what she was – a professional woman, a woman of class and style and elegance and wit. Mary’s presence here always added class to every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Those holidays will never be the same again here, not without Mary Owen, a woman who displayed grace under pressure and at all other times in her remarkable life

Yes, there was definitely something about Mary Owen.