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Mary E. Mrose (1912-2003)


Mary E. Mrose, was a mineralogist, crystallographer and a teacher. She was also a bonsai enthusiast for whom the International Pavilion at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is named. She was born in 1910, one of eight children of Emil W. and Mary M. Mrose. Her first career was that of teacher. After certification from the State Normal School at Salem, Massachusetts in 1931, she taught history, geography and civics, and occasionally mathematics and English at the junior high school level. While teaching, she earned an M.A. in Geography and a B.S. in Education. She also studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and became an accomplished pianist. Moving toward her second career, Ms. Mrose studied geology. In the 1940s, after a year's stint as an industrial chemist, she taught geology at Boston U., at the same time serving as research assistant in the Harvard Dept. of Mineralogy. There she was involved in the preparation of Volume 11 of the 7th edition of Dana's System of Mineralogy, the bible of the field.

Her second career began in earnest in 1953, when she joined the US Geological Survey in Washington, D.C. Until her official retirement in 1983, her activities included X-ray studies of minerals; field work in may parts of the US; and authorship or co-authorship of seventy three articles, including papers in which she described and named nineteen new minerals. One of many honors and awards bestowed upon her was the designation of a very rare mineral from Montezuma, Mexico, as 'Mroseite' in recognition of her valuable contributions to mineralogy. She was an active member of the Int'l Centre for Diffraction Data for thirty years and was a member of mineralogical and geological societies in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and France.

Her third career, which began after her retirement from the Geological Survey, was with the Nat'l Inst. of Standards and Technology where she compiled data for an update of Crystal Data: Determinative Tables and a companion database, which was published by the Int'l Center for Diffraction Data.

David Garvin & Mary Ann Orlando (September 1995)

Beyond 1995 things pretty much remained the same for her until her macular degeneration stopped her from driving. She also was a source for Polish recipes. She was so excited when someone brought her some pigs feet so she could make her special 'cold feet' (I can't begin to reproduce the Polish name). She never missed Wall Street Week on PBS and she certainly could wax indignant about current affairs! Her generosity is legend and her spirit was indefatigable. Her body may have deserted her but she was mentally sharp as a tack and was fun to talk to right up to the end.

Judy Konnert (April, 2003)