San Diego Union  Saturday, 1 March 2008



 On January 30, 1944, Mary Herms was born in Cartago, Colombia, and the family later relocated to Cali.

 Mary channeled her energy into dance, and became a professional ballet dancer for five years. She was a member of the "Ballet Grandcolombiano," which performed folkloric dances from five different Latin-American countries.

In 1966, Mary met a shy American named Henry who was in Cali doing work with the Peace Corps. They married in 1968, and moved to Encinitas, CA. In July of 1969, their first child, Monica, came, followed by Sandra in 1971, and Gooby in 1975

. In 1974, she was a founding member of the House of Colombia. She did choreography for groups performing traditional South American dances at the House of Pacific Relations from 1975 until about 1981. Mary also became a fitness instructor, teaching for about 10 years and even opening her own exercise studio.

 She went to college to study physical fitness and worked in the tutoring center helping college students with their Spanish. She was encouraged to teach Spanish at the college level, so she earned a degree in Spanish (with a minor in Italian) from SDSU. Mary then became an adjunct professor of Spanish at SDSU, Cal State San Marcos, Palomar, Mesa, and Mira Costa colleges.

She was also a member of the House of Spain for about 11 years, serving on the board of directors, as well as in many other capacities.

Mary was diagnosed with advanced multiple myeloma in January of 2007. She courageously battled the cancer with the help of her family.

On the morning of Thursday, February 21, 2008, Mary passed away at home. She was surrounded by her loving husband, daughters and son, as well as the family cats. We will remember her by staying strong, staying silly, staying curious, and using our intellect for the good of others as well as ourselves, with a big beautiful smile - just as she did.

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