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Bloom Where You Are Planted

Friends of the White River is deeply saddened by the loss of our member, collaborator, and inspiration Mary Durkin. She embodied what it means to be a Friend of the White River, spending countless volunteer hours removing invasive species and restoring native habitat to her riverfront community at Spirit Lake. Our thoughts are with her family during this holiday season. Per Mary’s wishes, we have set up a fund specifically to support additional Stream Stewards projects benefiting Marott Island and the White River.

Please use our online donation form and select Mary’s “Bloom Where You Are Planted” fund, or send a check with a memo “Bloom Where You Are Planted” to:
Friends of the White River
P.O. Box 90171
Indianapolis, IN 46290

Mary’s Official Obituary

Mary Eileen Durkin, 76, a friend of Nature and a child of God, passed away on Dec 21, 2022, four weeks after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Mary, nee Nickodem, was born and raised in Milwaukee and graduated in 1969 with an English degree from Marquette University where she met Tom, her husband of 52 years.
Their marriage was blessed with Monica, son-in-law David Hulbert, Terrence (Terry), daughter-in-law Lisa Martin, and granddaughters Louisa, Maura, Nessa, and Fiana.

Mary’s early career was as an editor and trainer at Time Insurance in Milwaukee. After relocating in 1979 to Evansville, IN, Mary bloomed in every community she found herself in. She was a Girl Scout Troop leader, a Cub Scout den mother, and a PTA chapter president. Eventually, she became the Program Director at Leadership Evansville and a driving force in the Indiana Leadership Association.

Mary and Tom moved to Indianapolis in 2002, where Mary found her true vocation as a gardener and environmental advocate, focusing on native plants and habitats. She was a Master Gardener (Gold Level), and active member of the Friends of Broad Ripple Park, the Indiana Native Plant Society, Friends of the White River, and the Marott Island Community Association (MICA).

She developed a 17-acre native garden habitat around her home in Spirit Lake Condominiums, a beautiful and vibrant space supporting butterflies, native bees, birds, and other native creatures. She was the driving force behind the pollinator gardens at Spirit Lake, the SHARP Garden at 46th and Illinois streets, Broad Ripple Park, and the Boulevard Place Food Pantry. She built the first Monarch Butterfly Way Station in Indianapolis.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Church (4600 N Illinois St, Indianapolis) at noon on Dec. 28 with visitation at the church that morning from 10:00 to noon.

In lieu of flowers, Mary requested that donations be made in her memory to the “Bloom Where You Are Planted Fund” through Friends of the White River