Following a brief illness, Marsda Carolyn (Mead) Conner, 85, died peacefully in her Oak Park home on Feb. 16, 2021 in the loving company of her husband, Roger, her youngest daughter, Ariadne, and her steadfast cat, MacDuff.
Born in Oquawka, Illinois, she trained for many years as a classical pianist before graduating from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in English. She taught at both Northeastern University and Mundelein College before committing herself full-time to the care of her growing family, whom she raised in Evanston and Beverly-Morgan Park, before finally settling in Oak Park 34 years ago.
A prominent fixture of the community, she was known to many locals from her years spent working at Barbara’s Bookstore and Magic Tree, where she took care and delight in connecting young readers with just the right book. She was often seen around town walking to the post office, the Jewel, Fannie May, or her Some Like it Light fitness class at the park district, or supporting productions by Festival Theatre and Academy of Movement & Music. She would frequently take the el into the city to attend the Grant Park Music Festival, exhibits at the Art Institute, or performances with friends at the Goodman Theatre or Lyric Opera.
She was not only a devoted mother, book lover, and patron of the arts, but a passionate political activist. She left the country over the Vietnam War, marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, sponsored refugees from Cuba and Cambodia, and in her later years, campaigned for Obama and Bernie Sanders.
In addition to her husband, Roger, and her daughter, Ariadne, she is also survived by her sister, Wanda, her children, Robbin, Maia, Gwenda, and Gareth, and six grandchildren. She was predeceased by two sons, Malcolm and Brendan, and one granddaughter, Rose.
A funeral service will be held at noon on March 12 at Ascension Church, 808 S. East Ave., Oak Park with burial at 2 p.m. in the Mount Greenwood Cemetery, 2900 W. 111th St., Chicago.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to any organization that supports animals, the arts, the food insecure, or the disenfranchised.