Mary Diane Seibel Cronin (stage name Mary Seibel), 89, a longtime resident of her beloved Oak Park, died on Sept. 8, 2018, after a glorious and passionate life. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 9, 1929, she graduated valedictorian of her class from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. An actress and mother, she co-founded The Village Players with her first husband James Cronin, an enduring theater company in Oak Park. A proud union member (SAG, AFTRA, AEA), she was a tireless advocate for the Screen Actors Guild, serving as fifth national vice president of SAG. For her service to SAG, she received the prestigious Howard Keel Award.
As a film actress, she had roles in Robert Altman’s A Wedding, The Package, Major League, Men Don’t Leave, and Raising Arizona. Television credits include The Untouchables, Crime Story, Murder Ordained, Good Night Sweet Wife, and Deep Secrets. Her first love, however, was the stage, with her first professional role at the age of 19 at The Old Log Theater in Excelsior, Minnesota. She went on to perform in theaters throughout the country, most notably at the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre.
She was never happier than when she was in a show, or digging up weeds in her garden in Lansing, Iowa, or on a boat in Minnesota with her sons on the first day of fishing season. She was famous for arriving at any family gathering with a large ham in the back seat.
She will be remembered not only for her stage and film roles, but also for singing at the top of her lungs in the basement of the house in Oak Park, for welcoming all to dinner, and for long zealous political conversations around the kitchen table with a bottomless cup of coffee.
Mary was the loving mother of Brian and Colin (predeceased), Sean, Dennis, Kathryn, Michael and Margaret; the loving sister to Nancy Culligan (predeceased); and Dorothy “Sunny” Seibel and Dr. Michael Seibel. She lives on in the spirit of her 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate Mary’s brave and beautiful life will be held on June 15, 2019 at Immaculate Conception Church in Lansing, Iowa.