mary_evans_banner It’s not exactly news that the Mary Evans, the charismatic Weight Watchers leader, died. She passed away Feb. 28 of leukemia and, according to her husband Dave, more than 2,000 people showed up for her wake. But the Barista didn’t learn of her death until yesterday, along with the news that a contingent of about 100 Weight Watchers people were planning to march at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Kean University in Union tonight — and carry a banner in her memory.
Mary wasn’t just any Weight Watchers leader. She was a legend. She packed the auditorium at Mountainside Hospital every Friday night for years, and that was just one of the 18 weekly meetings she ran during her peak as a leader. They came because she ran amazing meetings, speaking with an assurance that seemed natural (but was learned) and playing a little plastic bugle to congratulate members who had passed significant weight-loss milestones. mary_dave_evans_2There was never a more reassuring presence behind the scale, and she had enough clout in the Weight Watchers system to even bend the rules. If somebody who showed up for a meeting knew they’d had a terrible week and didn’t want to weigh in, she’d just write “Hello” on their card, instead of putting down the dreaded numbers. She herself lost 65 pounds, with Weight Watchers, in 1987 — and kept it off partly by being a leader and partly by maintaining a rigorous early-morning gym routine. She worked out even as she was fighting her cancer.
After Mary’s death, at the age of 52, some members were so sad they stopped showing up for meetings. √¢‚Ǩ≈ìPeople can√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t bring themselves to come into the center because they were so emotionally tied to Mary,√¢‚Ǩ¬ù said Fran Timpanaro, Weight Watchers’ territory manager for Middlesex, Union and Essex counties.
Dave Evans, pictured holding the right-hand side of the banner, was overwhelmed by the response. √¢‚Ǩ≈ìEveryone said the same thing,” he said. “She touched our lives, she cared about us, and thank you so much for sharing her with us.√¢‚Ǩ¬ù
We will miss her.
UPDATE: The Weight Watchers walkers collected $13,748!

One reply on “Walking for Mary”

  1. Inspiration is the best gift we can leave behind us when we go.
    At the anti-cancer all-night relay here a woman who ran last year *with cancer* died before she could participate this year. In her honor two of her friends ran over 50 miles — each! They said they did her miles for her.

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