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Dog processional honors the life of Western economics professor

Human and furry friends of Mary Ann Hendryson, a Western economics professor who died last spring, gathered for a dog processional in her memory the morning of Saturday, October 10.

Friends and family gather to celebrate the life of Mary Ann Hendryson, a former economics professor at Western, with a dog processional. Hendryson died in early April from complications from her cancer.
Friends and family gather to celebrate the life of Mary Ann Hendryson, a former economics professor at Western, with a dog processional. Hendryson died in early April from complications from her cancer. //Photo by Ariana Hoyer

Around 35 people and their dogs walked from the Fairhaven parking lot and looped around the Communications Facility lawn before Hendryson’s memorial service in Academic West.

The procession was made up of friends, family and former students of Hendryson and their dogs, some carrying carts with flowers.

The parade was inspired by Hendryson’s love of dogs, Bonnie Bird said, a former dog-carting student of Hendryson’s.

“She was very, very fond of dogs. She liked to see people get together with dogs,” Bird said. “She would have loved this.”

Hendryson’s Burmese Mountain dogs, Karma and Reka, led the procession with her lifelong best friend, Meredith Gilbert.

Gilbert organized the dog parade in partnership with the economics department, which hosted the memorial service, she said.

“She didn’t have kids, so the dogs were her family, her kids, everything,” Gilbert said.

She taught economics at Western for 26 years and was very passionate about her students, Steve Henson said, professor and chair of the economics department.

Hendryson, born April 28, 1954, died on April 8 of this year from complications in her cancer treatment.

“She was such a positive force, in my life and lots of other people’s lives,” Gilbert said. “She had a huge personality and you can’t not celebrate. She was so outgoing, she gave so much. She’s not the kind of person you ignore.”

Donations were accepted for the Mary Ann Hendryson Scholarship fund for economics majors, started by Hendryson’s siblings and Gilbert, Henson said.

“She was an awesome person, a great colleague and a wonderful friend,” Henson said. “She has been sorely missed and will be long remembered.”

Donations may be made to a scholarship fund in her name at WWU (C/O Sonja Sather, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, 98225) or to The Berner-Garde Foundation to support research for the health of dogs at: Bernergarde.org, according to a press release from WesternToday.

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