THIS WILL BE the first Mummers Parade that Mary Abigail Green will miss in many decades.
She always took her family to the parade, no matter what the weather, and, after she moved to California about 20 years ago, she insisted that the parade be taped and the tape sent to her.
But Mary died Sunday in Merced, Calif., at the age of 96.
This amazing woman seemed ageless to her family because she always took exceptional care of herself, taking vitamins, eating natural foods, walking and roller skating. She took practically no medication even into her later years.
As for roller skating, it was a passion akin to the Mummers. She was so dedicated to the activity that back in '48, when she was pregnant with a daughter, the family had to hide her skates so she couldn't get at them.
"She skated into her 80s," said that daughter, Alberta Marie "Bobbi" Sisco. "I couldn't believe it."
Over the years, Mary held a number of jobs, joined three different religions and was married three times. In recent years, she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to which her daughter introduced her after she moved to California.
Bobbi was living in Merced when she convinced her mother to move West. It didn't take much convincing.
"I told her how beautiful it was here," Bobbi said. "She was deep in snow at the time."
Mary loved life. She loved music and dancing, and singing. She sang in church choirs, including that of First Tabernacle Church of God and Saints of Christ (now Temple Beth El), on Broad Street near South where her father, John Henry Harris, was pastor.
"She always connected with us," said Yvette Ousley, a city-desk editor for the Daily News, and one of Mary's 15 grandchildren.
"We were captivated by her stories. She liked to talk about her life, the history she had witnessed, the technological advancements."
Yvette said that her grandmother was always "impeccably dressed, and was very funny."
Mary had a number of pointed aphorisms. One was, "If you play the piano you're going to get music." That may sound obvious, but Mary meant it as a caution against inappropriate behavior.
Mary was born in Boston. Her mother was the former Eva Ellen Jackson. She worked in accounting for the First National Bank of Boston and on the cleaning crew at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
She was in her late teens when she married the late Albert Green. They were together for about 20 years and lived in Chester. She worked in a drycleaning plant there for a time.
After that marriage ended, she lived in Connecticut and in Boston before returning to Philadelphia. She married Faisal Ahmad. They lived for a while in St. Louis.
She later married the late Bashir Traylor. At that time, she used the name Mubaraka Traylor, and attended a mosque in Philadelphia. Mary was an inveterate traveler. She visited Africa, Morocco and Mexico, and enjoyed taking cruises in the Caribbean.
In California, she volunteered at the Merced Community Medical Center, where she died, and was active with Day Out, a senior-citizens facility. Mary was determinedly independent. But after she suffered a couple of falls, she was largely incapacitated.
"She was so used to being independent, she didn't like being cared for," Bobbi said.
Mary also is survived by another daughter, Yvonne Glenn; a son, Raquib Wali; a sister, Jeanette Hicks; 15 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by another daughter, Delores Cox.
Services: Noon Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Atwater, Calif. A viewing will begin at 11 a.m.
Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Park, Merced, Calif. *