Our best friend Mary Hancock-Niemic passed away on Saturday August 1, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona at age 68. Mary was born in Tulare, California. She and her family moved to Phoenix when Mary was very young and she remained a Phoenix resident for the rest of her life. As a child, Mary spent time on the family's chicken ranch. One of Mary's joys was her beloved horse, Strawberry. Mary's love for horses lasted a lifetime, and as she developed her natural skills in art over the years, she often painted them.
Mary graduated from Central High School in 1969 and then studied art at ASU where she received her bachelor's degree in graphic design. Mary continued at ASU where she also earned both a masters and doctorate in educational technology (instructional design). One of Mary's proudest accomplishments was presenting her doctorate research in Budapest, Hungary, accompanied by her husband Andy.
Mary had many career interests including her early years as a technical illustrator. She also was employed developing educational curriculum, both as an instructional designer and as a managing editor. And she also spent years as an adjunct faculty member teaching various digital graphics programs to students online. Mary was a people-first leader who emphasized educating rather than correcting. She took new team members under her wing, particularly younger ones or those just starting out, mentored them and helped them grow in their new careers.
Mary was compassionate, always willing to lend an ear or ask how she could help. She was a true friend and kept the friends she made. Mary had a love for anything that sparkled and she enjoyed all the holidays.
When Mary was diagnosed with Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), she and Andy conducted their own research on how best to help her. They wanted to raise awareness about the illness and help others as well. They even created a website with information about their own experience in an effort to help others.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband Andy and her mother Maryann. She is survived by her father Duncan, her sister Diane, and many extended family members and many friends. Mary, we will miss you!