Mary Ann Trombold died on March 28th at the age of 83 on Mercer Island after a prolonged and vigilant struggle with cancer. The first daughter of John and Vern McGrew of Wellington, Kansas, Mary Ann was born in 1936 during the Great Depression. Raised in a medical family, an early duty of hers was counting pills in her father’s office and supporting his small- town medical practice that involved surgery, the delivery of babies, and the rigors of flu season.
Fellow graduates of Wellington High School class of 1954 will not only remember Mary Ann as Student body president, but also a glee club, choir, school play participant, and finally Girls State and Girls Nation representative. While attending University of Kansas, Mary Ann entered the Miss America beauty pageant and won the title Miss Kansas in 1956. She continued to Atlantic City and was among the small group of runners up for the 1957 Miss America contest. She modeled a gown and a swimsuit before a full house and forty million television viewers. For a public speech during the competition, she offered the somewhat shocked audience a gun control polemic, one punctuated by her firing of a blank from her father’s gun.
Mary Ann attended the University of Kansas and joined the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and graduated in 1958 nursing degree. Her work experience included labor and delivery in Kansas and New York, psychiatric nursing, and work as a public health advocate, a subject about which she was particularly passionate. Combined with her amazing cooking skills she produced a cookbook published under the name, “Lets Talk Turkey,” which substitutes ground turkey for less healthy red meat dishes. In the early 1980s, Mary Ann joined 17 other women ahead of their time and formed an investment club, which began investigating wise stock choices. Using paper graphing and charts, her curiosity and financial analysis can be seen today in the many notebooks around her house, which she lived in alone until September 2019, when she moved into Covenant Living by the Shore on Mercer Island. She died six months later.
In 1958 she married Dr. James Trombold, with whom she raised two sons, John and Kevin Trombold, on Mercer Island. She is also survived by her sister, Jane Hess, of Kansas City, Kansas, her daughters-in-law, Brent Davies and Heath Foster, and her five grandchildren: Sophia Trombold, Katharine Anne Trombold, Augustus Trombold, Charlie Trombold, and Benjamin Trombold. Her husband died in 2009 of pneumonia associated with his chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. After his death, Mary Ann remained in her house on Mercer Island and cared for her garden through 2019, having been active in the Seattle Arboretum. She also served Ryther Child Center for many years in an active Ryther Foundation group. Mary Ann was widely understood to be a wonderful and determined person and is fondly remembered for her joyous and infectious laughter.
Remembrances can be sent to Ryther Child Center. Memorial to be held 4:30PM, Friday, August 13th, at the Mercer Island Congregational Church 4545 Island Crest Way.