Obituary of Mary Sprague
Mary Katherine (Stuart Salyer) Sprague, 81, passed away November 21 at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center.
Mary K., as she was known to all, was born February 10, 1937 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise. Her father, Raymond Stuart and mother, Ella MacDaniel Stuart, provided a warm and loving home to Mary K. and her older brother, Tom Stuart.
Mary K. attended St. Teresa’s Academy in Boise for primary school, St. Mary’s School for 7th and 8th grade and then returned to St. Teresa’s for high school. From there, she attended Marylhurst College in Portland, Oregon for a year before returning to receive an A.A. degree from Boise Junior College in 1957. A lifelong learner, Mary K. also completed continuing education in accounting at the University of Alaska in 1989 and received certified travel agent training in 1995.
In 1959, Mary K. married Ken Salyer, a Forest Service smokejumper, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise. In 1960, Mary K. and Ken welcomed son Michael R. Salyer into the world. In 1965, Mary K. experienced tragedy when Ken was killed in a plane crash in the Idaho mountains while serving as a spotter on a smokejumper flight.
In 1966, Mary K. married G. Lynn Sprague, also a Forest Service smokejumper, at St. Mary’s. In 1968, Mary K. and Lynn welcomed son Joseph A. Sprague into the world.
As Lynn continued his career with the Forest Service, he and Mary K., Mike and Joe moved several times including stops in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Hailey, Idaho, Salt Lake City, Utah, Alturas, California, Washington, DC (twice), Juneau, Alaska, and San Francisco, California before permanently returning to Boise in 1999. Mary K. enjoyed making a loving home for her family and establishing countless new friendships in each location.
Even with the various moves, Mary K. enjoyed her own professional pursuits with over 30 years of diversified experience in customer service and administrative support. She was especially proud of contributions at the Pentagon Federal Credit Union where she was selected as a team leader on a major computer conversion project. She also made key contributions with several federal and state government agencies including the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture where, in her role as travel specialist, she developed a new training session for national and state offices. Later in her career, Mary K. enthusiastically took up travel planning and became a certified travel agent.
Mary K’s giving spirit led her to volunteer in many capacities over the decades. Always an avid supporter of her hometown, she happily volunteered for the Boise River Festival in 1999 and 2000, and proudly supported the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Boise in 2009. She maintained her lifelong tie to St. Mary’s Church in Boise with volunteer service there, as well.
Mary K. loved to travel. She and Lynn made memorable trips to Europe, Australia and through the Panama Canal. The couple made a special trip to the Holy Land in 2010. Visiting the biblical sites of Israel and Jordan was important to Mary K. and was an extension of her strong, lifelong Catholic faith. While there, and to the delight of her traveling companions, Mary K. overcame severe back pain to ride a camel for several miles in Jordan’s Petra region.
Mary K. made her strongest contribution as a wife, mother and grandmother. Fiercely loyal and filled with unconditional love, she cared for her family with truly amazing grace. She is survived by Lynn, her husband of 52 years; by her sons and their wives Mike (Carmen) of Boise and Joe (Jennifer) of the Seattle area; her grandchildren Cristine, Nicholas, Savannah, Matthew, Natalie, Anthony and Emily; and great-grandchild Robert. Her affection and devotion to them was limitless.
The family appreciates the excellent care she received over the past year at St. Alphonsus, St. Luke’s and Riverview Rehabilitation.
Friends and loved ones are welcome to attend a Rosary service in Mary K’s honor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church (2612 W. State St) at 6pm on November 29, her funeral Mass at St. Mary’s at 11am on November 30, and an Irish wake and celebration of life in Mary K’s memory from 2pm-4pm on November 30 at the Cottonwood Grille (913 W. River St in Boise).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary K’s memory to the Mary K. (Stuart) Sprague Scholarship Fund at St. Mary’s School, part of the Catholic community she felt blessed to stay connected to for over 8 decades.