Mary E. Weadon, 71, a former teacher and long-time resident of Herndon, Virginia, took her last journey from this world on December 11, 2020. Mary was a special education teacher for more than 30 years, a field she was drawn to because of her experiences growing up as a person who stutters.
Mary was born in Whittier, California, to Madge (Roberts) and Claude Weadon and moved to the Washington, D.C. area in the 1970s, where she built a life for her and her daughter as a single mom on a teacher’s salary. In addition to her job as a teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools, she was an advocate for progressive causes and the stuttering community. Mary was a delegate for George McGovern at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, which paved the way for a lifetime of advocacy in local, State, and Federal campaigns. One of her favorite advocacy tactics was to send enormous poster-size cards with hundreds of individual stamps to elected officials.
It was because of Mary’s advocacy and careful research that Fairfax County named a newly-built Herndon, VA elementary school after an historic African American educator from the area. In 2009, Lutie Lewis Coates Elementary opened its doors and serves hundreds of students in Herndon.
Mary was also deeply involved in raising awareness about stuttering and was one of the founding members of a local stuttering therapy and support group. It was with this group that she explored creative ideas about ways to increase awareness of stuttering, such as creating bulletin boards at the local library and hosting beach trips for the group where they would focus on stuttering openly and building a supportive community.
She also loved dancing, giving too-big gifts, and learning about others and their passions. In the last years of her life, she grew fond of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and even bought a cabin in the city limits where she planned to spend weekends. She loved attending the Thursday evening band performances downtown and meeting fellow neighbors and visitors.
She is survived by her daughter, Marcie (Weadon-Moreno) Foster, and her grandchildren, Colin and Alexandra. She was extremely proud of her daughter’s career in public service and the family that Marcie created with her husband, Stephen Foster. But she was even more proud of her grandchildren and cherished being a part of their everyday life.
No flowers, please. Memorial gifts may be sent to The Stuttering Foundation of America in Memory of: Mary Weadon for The Mary Weadon Fund for Public Awareness. Gifts can be made online or by mail via The Stuttering Foundation of America, P.O. Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111-0749.
Mary’s final home will be at the Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, the place she loved most. A celebration of life will follow.