Remembering Mary

It is with heavy hearts, deep gratitude, and overflowing love that we share the news that Mary Gergen passed away on the morning of September 22, 2020.

We all knew Mary as a lively, courageous, and innovative trail blazer.  With Ken, Mary created a global community — a family of caring, committed scholars and practitioners whose central desire is to make the world a better place for all.  And, the world is a better place for her presence in it and her connection to us all.  We send our warmest embraces to you all.  

~ The Taos Institute Board

Read more about Mary by going to her obituary.

And more about Mary on this website.

The Mary Gergen Memorial Fund – Many people have asked us how they can honor Mary with a donation to the Taos Institute. You may do so by going to this page: Click here.

Share below: We invite you to post a comment here on this page. Use the comment area to share a story, memory, and what Mary meant to you. To share a picture or video you need to include the link to that image/video. Thank you for sharing.

16 Comments

  • I would love to hear stories, anecdotes, and remembrances you all have of your relationship with Mary.

    • Almost 20 years ago I invited Mary and Ken to lead a professional development workshop (PDW) at the Academy of Management Conference held in DC. The topic was social constructionist approaches in organization science. That was a time when few people appreciated the role of language in management science. Many in that academic audience were skeptical, and Mary was the energetic force that kept them engaged. I could see that there were many “converts” at the end of the two-hour session! I will miss her energy, passion, and compassion for others.

  • Dawn Dole says:

    I made this slide show of Mary and her love of Taos, all the people, events and activities over the years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwwEYgTNt3w

  • Tomas Ibañez says:

    I first meet Mary some 33 years ago when she come to Barcelona with Ken to attend a wonderful small group meeting on “social psychology in the making”. We travelled to different places in Spain and enjoyed all togethers several days in a warm and good feeling atmosphere enhanced by the kindness and the attentions of Mary.
    We knew quite immediately that we shared a very large amount of concepts, practices and values so a long standing and friendly relation was created and the oportunities to meet again where manyfold.
    Strong emotions, beautiful memories and a deep sadness flows into me when writing these word.

  • I have this vivid picture of Mary and Ken making Social constructionism a lived experience for us at different occasions here in Denmark. A good and supportive memory, when I teach the theory.

    I send lots of warm and positive thoughts to Ken,
    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Mary Gergen just won my heart because of her fierce intellect, engaging way of being, aliveness, awesome style, unapologetic critique of what needed named. I adore Mary Gergen…the world just got smaller but we’re so much better off for having been in her orbit.

  • Jeff Hicks says:

    Mary was the very first speaker I heard, at the very first Taos conference I attended (in Taos). Above, Rene described how Mary made this a ‘lived experience’ for them, and so it was for me. Even now I remember it: a simple talk, by Mary and Ken, with a flip chart, a couple of markers, but a profound and positive lived experience–I knew I had come to the right place.

  • My deep admiration for this professional woman and my gratitude for what she left behind. May she rest in peace and light.

  • Max Watanabe says:

    Great memory of Mary

    please enjoy!!

    Ken Gergen, Mary Gergen and Diana Whitney talk on the Social Construction.

    Recorded at the lunch time meeting during the Taos Institute 20th Anniversary Conference with consulting members of Corporation for Positive Change@ Taos New Mexico in 2013

    #1 (9min.)
    youtu.be/foe9pALpoV4
    #2 (10min.)
    youtu.be/3ZNvq4Fr8EA
    #3 (8min.)
    youtu.be/kiNN8nM2zsY
    #4 (8min.)
    youtu.be/NFJQGSUjEkM

  • First, it was her laugh I think, and the way she held herself… so fit and alive that first alerted me to Mary’s power. Then her words, her unique way of addressing even serious issues, her ability to hold space for all of us across the years. Fierce in her desire to create change and connection. A woman of beauty in every way. A Crone of infinite abilities. And her profound love of her partner, Ken, was beautiful to behold.

  • Vanessa Guzmán says:

    I met Mary Gergen through her text “Life Stories. Pieces of a Dream” that I found in the library of my university in Mexico. His ideas inspired a part of my undergraduate thesis. I didn’t think at the time that I would see her in person many years later at the 25th anniversary of the Taos Institute. It is beautiful how his siren song was one of the powerful voices that called me to these constructionist lands.

  • Myra Virgil says:

    Mary will always have a special place in my memories and heart. She was super smart, quirky and encouraging in just the ways I needed her to be. I loved the Gergen and Gergen way of being. She was inspirational and thinking of her, even now in this moment, makes me feel aspirational. I am thinking of you Ken and sending vibes of wellness, empathy and gratitude for having had the privilege of having you both in my life.

  • Rita de Cassia De souza says:

    Mary Gergen left a legacy that goes beyond her earthly life. I appreciate what she taught us and hope that we can move forward with her contributions to a better world. It is the best way to honor her.

  • Eugene Epstein says:

    The year was 2008 and the setting was a 2 day conference in Oldenburg, Germany we had organized in which Ken and Mary were part of the opening plenary discussion. The title of the conference was „Helfende Beziehungen als Ware: Aesthetische Entwürfe jenseits des Ökonomisierungswahns“ (Helping relationships as Commodities: aesthetic imaginings beyond the insanity of commodification). On the plenary along with Ken and Mary were a number of other superstars of the international academic world: the Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild, the German neurobiologist Gerald Hüther as well as the German reform psychiatrist and philosopher Klaus Dörner. Shortly before the start of the conference, we got a voice mail from the professional translator we had hired, telling us that his sister had been in a severe auto accident and that he was flying off immediately to be with her. In our desperation, we searched for replacements on very short notice. The result was captured on video to be preserved for eternity and exemplifies just how adept Mary was at utilizing humor to deescalate and transform a potentially disastrous situation:

    Mary‘s quick and warm humor managed to transform this pregnant pause and prevent the conference from devolving into chaos. We will miss Mary, her cleverness, quick wit as well as her communicative talent, and our heartfelt condolences go out to Ken and the family.

    With lots of love,
    Eugene an Margit
    Lothar
    Manfred

  • Pamela Brett-MacLean says:

    I am so grateful for having known Mary. I have long been inspired by her many creative contributions and scholarship which have helped me to appreciate the potential of all we can accomplish together in uniquely, innovative ways. I also so appreciated her playful humour, and direct honesty and candor which for me, and I also imagine for others, pointed to new possibilities for going forward.

    Shortly after learning of, and saddened by Mary’s passing, I came across “Late Fragment” the final poem in Raymond Carver’s (1938-1988) last published work, “A New Path to the Waterfall”, which he wrote while he was dying of cancer. This poem – gripping, honest, and beautiful like Mary – led me to reflect on how I believe Mary was not only beloved, but she both loved, and was beloved by the world. And so may we all be …

    “Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

    “A New Path to the Waterfall”, 1989.

    Indeed, so beautiful to behold!

  • I remember Mary for her warmth and learning. She was also always in treated in others when she met them – it was never about her. However, she was a creative force to be reckoned with as she touched the lives of many in her teaching, workshops and travels. She will be sorely missed but she was one of the flag for our elder’s brigade and will be sorely missed.

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