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Obituary for Mary E. Harrington

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Mary E. Harrington

November 23, 1923 - July 20, 2017

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Mary (Polly) Harrington after a long illness. Mary was born on November 23rd, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Evelina (Belden) Paulson was a pioneering social worker and activist who was instrumental in creating the first juvenile court system for boys in the country. Her father, Henry T. Paulson, was a lawyer. Mary and her brother Belden grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. Both are alumni of Oberlin College and the University of Chicago. After graduation, Mary had a distinguished career as a religious journalist. She served for many years as a reporter and editor for the Religion News Service. She continued writing throughout her life. She penned thousands of articles and published two books, one of which she just completed in early 2017.

In 1957, she married Dr. Gordon K. Harrington, also a graduate of the University of Chicago. Mary and Gordon moved to Ogden, Utah in 1969. Gordon is a retired history professor at Weber State University, where he taught for more than 35 years. They had two children, Jonathan and Charles. Charles, a loving and accomplished soul who was known for his amazing memory and friendly demeanor, remained in Utah until his untimely death in 2015. Her other son, Jonathan, is a college professor who lives with his wife Kathy and daughter Kela in Mercer Island, WA.

Mary was a wonderful mother. Mary served in numerous volunteer leadership positions including long stints on local and/or regional boards of the Association for University Women, Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ, Family Counseling Service, Church Women United, United Church Board for World Ministries, Utah State PTA, Ogden Interfaith Works, Utah State Education Commission, and the Utah Federation of Women’s Clubs. She also taught journalism and writing classes at Weber State University. Mary and Gordon are long time members of the United Church of Christ Congregational Church in Ogden, UT. Both were very active in church affairs throughout their lives.

Mary is survived by her husband, Gordon; son, Jonathan; granddaughter, Kela; and brother, Belden.

Anyone who is interested is invited to attend a viewing at Leavitt’s Mortuary, 836 – 36th St., Ogden, UT on Friday, July 28th from 6-8 PM. The funeral will be held at the United Church of Christ Congregational, 3350 Harrison Blvd. Ogden, UT 84403 on Saturday, July 29th at 10 AM. Private family burial.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the United Church of Christ Congregational for the Dr. Gordon and Polly Harrington Church Memorial Endowment fund.


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Service Schedule

Visitation Information

Date: Friday, July 28, 2017

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Leavitt's Mortuary


836 36th Street , , Ogden, UT, 84403

Service Information

Date: Saturday, July 29, 2017

United Church of Christ Congregational


3350 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden, UT

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Timeline for Mary E. Harrington

Born: November 23, 1923
Died: July 20, 2017

Condolences for Mary E. Harrington

John Berlin posted on 7/28/17

Dear Gordon and Jonathan, I share my sympathies at this time of loss in your lives at Polly's passing. Although we have not had much contact with your family in recent years, I too feel a loss at this time. The lyrics to the Hymn below express my feelings for this elect lady. May you be blessed with an added portion of the Holy Spirit, as Comforter, at this time and in the coming days! Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, John Berlin and family Each Life That Touches Ours for Good 1. Each life that touches ours for good Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord; Thou sendest blessings from above Thru words and deeds of those who love. 2. What greater gift dost thou bestow, What greater goodness can we know Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways Strengthen our faith, enrich our days. 3. When such a friend from us departs, We hold forever in our hearts A sweet and hallowed memory, Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee. 4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim Devotion to the Savior's name, Who bless our days with peace and love, We praise thy goodness, Lord, above. Text: Karen Lynn Davidson, b. 1943. © 1985 IRI Music: A. Laurence Lyon, b. 1934. © 1985 IRI