Today: Memorial service for Mary Roberts Ripley


A memorial service for Mary Roberts Ripley, a Portola Valley resident for the past 25 years and recognized repeatedly over her life for her service as a volunteer, is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at The Sequoias retirement community at 501 Portola Road in Portola Valley. A reception will follow at 4 p.m.

Ms. Ripley died Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the age of 100. Her husband, Alexander P. Ripley, died in 1978 and she did not remarry.

Mary Ripley graduated from Marlborough School in Los Angeles and dedicated her life to being a volunteer around the world, something she seems to have excelled at doing. The Los Angeles Times named her Woman of the Year in 1959, and she was a founding member of the International Association for Volunteer Effort and the American Women for International Understanding.

Ms. Ripley did not go to college, her son Alexander told the Almanac. She was "committed to giving back and was a natural leader," he said. She served on the governing boards and was an active member of the California Children's Home Society, the California Heart Association, Planned Parenthood, and the Global Fund for Women.

She was also a world traveler, having made her first round-the-world trip with her mother in the 1930s, her son said. She visited every major city on every continent. With her involvement in non-government organizations, she spoke when abroad on topics related to women's advocacy, mental health, prenatal care and child welfare, and leadership.

Ms. Ripley received a lifetime achievement award for volunteer service from the American Women for International Understanding in a 2012 appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

At The Sequoias, she was an active committee member and frequented the memory care unit, where she would read or play games with the patients, her son said.

Ms. Ripley is survived by her sons William of Azusa, California, and Alexander of Mukilteo, Washington; four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Go to this link to leave a remembrance on the Almanac's Lasting Memories website.

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