Mary was born April 21, 1928 in the small community of Leolyn in northern Pennsylvania, the eldest child of Samuel and Julia McNett. Up through eighth grade she attended a one-room schoolhouse, then moved on to Canton High School, where she gave the commencement address at graduation in 1945. She next studied at Mansfield State College, in 1950 obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Secondary Education, with majors in English and Social Studies, and a minor in Music Education.
Eager to see the wider world, she applied to many school districts in the distant Territory of Alaska. She received an offer to teach at Wrangell High School, and in September 1950, accompanied by a trunk full of woolens, she rode the Canadian Pacific train cross-country and completed travel to her new job by DC-3 and Grumman Goose. By mid-winter, she was married to Odd B. Sundberg, a Wrangell gillnetter. Mary finished the school year, then transitioned from teacher to homemaker. Soon after their son Van was born, the young family relocated to Juneau in 1952 for better economic opportunities. Daughter Naomi was born in 1953 and son James arrived in 1957.
With three young children and house payments straining the family budget, Mary returned to paid employment. Over the course of a 30-year career in airline reservations, primarily in the Baranof Hotel ticket offices, she worked for Pan American, Cordova, Pacific Northern, Western and Alaska Airlines in that order, and finally, Alaska Travel Services. Her specialty was international ticketing and tariffs. She retired in 1988 but continued to teach travel agent training sessions until 1992.
Her first marriage ended in 1972. In 1980 she married John A. Moore, a fellow parishioner and St. Paul Singer. They were devoted to each other throughout their marriage; she often said those were the best years of her life. They traveled, built a summer place in Gustavus near her daughter's family, and performed together in many Juneau Lyric Opera productions. When John's kidneys failed in the mid-'90s, Mary trained as a dialysis technician so they could continue to live in Juneau, and conducted twice-weekly procedures until his death in 2003.
The Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) was a major focus in her life. Over the years she sang in the choir, served on the vestry, and participated in countless fundraisers, making many dear friends along the way. After founder Betty Heumann passed away in 1999, Mary took over management of the Mustard Seed resale shop, the proceeds of which fund off-budget improvements at the church. She was heavily involved in the rebuilding effort after the church burned in 2006. In 2011, the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska inducted Mary into the
Society of St. Simeon and St. Anna, the Diocese council of elders.
Preceded in death by husband John Moore, son James Sundberg, and sister Naomi Mosser, she is survived by her brother Cdr. William T. McNett (Ret.) of Canton; son Van Sundberg (Tracey Miller) of Juneau; daughter Naomi Sundberg (Tom Traibush) of Bellingham, WA; daughter-in-law Cindy Sundberg of Manson, WA; grandchildren Dan Westcott, Alex Westcott, and Jensina Sundberg; and many nieces and nephews.
Mary will be remembered for her lively intelligence, love of people, deep friendships and her sense of fun. She enjoyed nothing better than good works, good company, good stories and a good book. She was an expert on Shakespeare. She turned every memorable event over her lifetime into a (usually humorous) story. Her inner strength, unshakeable faith, and the support of her close friends enabled her to rebound from the inevitable losses and pains experienced over the course of a long, fruitful life.
When she learned her remaining time was short, Mary took care of final matters and spoke of reuniting with those waiting to welcome her. Mary was ready for this show to close and the curtain to rise on her next life. When she finished her last task (an outline for her memorial service), Mary announced she was done here; in a matter of days her prayers were answered. Although she is no longer among us, this wonderful woman will live on in our memories.
A memorial communion service and reception will be conducted at the Church of the Holy Trinity sometime in mid-August. A future announcement will be made when plans are finalized. In lieu of gifts of flowers, friends are encouraged to donate to the Church of the Holy Trinity or any charity of their choice.