Dr. Mary J. Piggott


Born in Brainerd, MN August 21, 1955. Died April 29, 2023. She is survived by sister Donna, nephew Jake, niece Sunny. Cousins Christine, Rolf, Brad, Susan, John, Steve, Cindy, Scott, Chris, and Peter. She was preceded in death by parents Thomas and Constance Piggott and cousins Cathy and Carl.

Mary loved much and was much loved by her family and friends and her special feline and canine friends…especially Abraham, Bear, Katchina, Rosie, and Alabaster.

As a child, Mary was a precocious red-headed cutie. She often joined the Washington (Brainerd) High School cheerleaders cheering on the really good basketball teams in the early 1960s.

Her faith journey was very important. As Mary grew up she was active alongside her parents in the Presbyterian Church. Mary was very thankful for Pastor Dale Sewell who provided spiritual guidance throughout her life.

Mary started her working career as a beautician. However, she soon found her true calling when she started working at the Brainerd State School and Hospital. She then decided to go to college and become a professional in that field.

The University of Minnesota was where she earned her BS and MA. She went on to the University of Oregon for her PhD. Work at Vanderbilt University also contributed to her expertise. She was passionate about her work to make life better for people with disabilities.

Several of her professors and supervisors were mentors and friends who contributed much to her knowledge of ways to really help people with special needs along with their families, and caregivers.

Dr. Rick Amato and Dr. Travis Thompson were especially helpful to Mary during her more than 40 years of her career helping others.

Mary was her family’s “Auntie Mame” every summer that Jake and Sunny were in Minnesota. This included fishing, swimming, treats in Nisswa, Valleyfair, and good food adventures with Aunt Mary!

Making beautiful quilts and wall hangings to give to her friends and family gave Mary great joy. And in the last few years creating beautiful cards with special friends was another favorite way to express her love and caring to family and friends. Each quilt and card is a work of art. Making lefse with special friends at Christmas carried on a family tradition.

Mary loved the years she lived at The Lake and collecting agates there and at every other lake and rocky site she visited.

Those people who knew Mary well know that she fought through Many years of great pain and discomfort. That did not deter her from pursuing a career of helping those needing help or making things more pleasant, enjoyable, and beautiful for her family and friends.

We are thankful Mary is free of her pain now and will remember her joy when she was helping others and creating beautiful things.

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