Mary Lou Conley’s extraordinary life was cut short very suddenly by pancreatic cancer, leaving family and friends shocked and heartbroken.
Mary Lou was born in Assiut, Egypt in 1958 to missionary parents, narrowly missing the Suez Canal Crisis. The family remained in Egypt until they moved to Canada in 1962, living in North Gower, Brockville and Ottawa. Her upbringing in Egypt remained deeply influential throughout Mary Lou’s life.
At an early age, Mary Lou had a spark for adventure. After finishing high school, she and two friends set off for the Yukon where she worked as a cook in hotels and camps around the territory. There she met her partner Reg Wolfe and had two children, Virginia and Jesse Wolfe. Reg introduced Mary Lou to life in the north and together they spent years trapping and working in mining camps and sawmills around the Yukon. The love of the Yukon remained, inspiring her future studies and journalistic pursuits. Mary Lou instilled this love of northern wilderness in both her children who maintained a strong connection with their Yukon family.
The adventure continued when Mary Lou and the children returned to Ontario in 1986. While raising her children, she obtained a Diploma in Print Journalism as well as a BA (Hons) and MA in English Literature from Carleton University. For several years, Mary Lou worked as a reporter and photographer for The Winchester Press and as a freelance photojournalist. Twenty years ago, she established Marketplace Communications Inc., specializing in organizational change and communications consulting services with the Federal and Municipal governments.
Outside of work, Mary Lou loved beaches and water, camping, travelling, live music and festivals. She was a well-loved part of the Ottawa music scene. Mary Lou was an amazing cook and enjoyed bringing people together to share good food, laughter and music at home or while camping. She was supportive and generous to her friends, family and community.
Having flown in from the Yukon on March 6, Virginia and Jesse were with Mary Lou for her final hours, as was her sister Sandra Conley. Thank you to the Oncology and ICU teams at The Ottawa Hospital for their compassion and care. Mary Lou is predeceased by her parents Reverends Doris and Earl Conley, and is survived by her children, sister, brother Henry Conley, several cousins and many friends around the world.
Mary Lou was a very special person. She was a beautiful, vibrant and kind soul who drew people in with her contagious laughter and warmth. She had a natural light that burned bright within her and attracted others to her.
Now that light has gone out, leaving an emptiness in many people’s lives. We all will miss her greatly.
Bye for now Mary Lou. May you always be surrounded by love and beautiful music.
An online musical tribute to Mary Lou will be live streamed on April 10th, 2021 at 7p.m.
This obituary is protected by copyright by Central Chapel. Proudly Serving the Communities of Ottawa, Nepean, Kanata, Orleans, Barrhaven, Stittsville, Gloucester, Gatineau, Wakefield, Chelsea, Carp, Kemptville, and Winchester. Central Chapel is located in the province of Ontario, Canada.