Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Mary, daughter of Charles and Margaret Born, was born March 27, 1911, in Prescott, Arizona Territory. She attended Lincoln Grade School and graduated from Prescott High School in 1929. She worked for her father at the Elk’s Theater. On March 28, 1934, she married Lloyd Edward Heller in Prescott.

Mary and Lloyd had two children: Diane Shirley Gay, born March 10, 1935; and Charles Stephen Heller, born September 12, 1938. In addition to being wife and mother, Mary was always active in community affairs. She was a chieftess of the Smoki People, served as president of both the Lady Elks and American Legion Auxiliary. Also she was president of the Arizona Congress of Parents and Teachers during the 1950s.

A Red Cross nurse's aide during World War II, she became the executive secretary of the Yavapai Chapter of the American Red Cross, a position she held for eight years during the 1940s and '50s.

A member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church since her childhood, Mary was active in parish affairs and served many years in the Episcopal Church Women and the Altar Guild. In her spare time she loved to paint and was very talented at it, just as her grandmother Ella Burns had been.

Mary’s daughter, Diane, wrote the following for Mary’s memorial service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church: “Mother was proud of having been born in the Arizona Territory. It pleased her to grow up in the state she loved, in the town her parents helped to settle, and with the family she adored.

"She was passionate in her interests, active in her community, attended to the needs of her friends and devoted to her church. She was ever busy, ever on the move. My husband liked to say that she did not walk as much as fall forward and let her feet catch up with her!"

Mary’s mother, Margaret Barney Johnston Born, and her grandmother, Ella Barney Johnston Burns, are also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

In 1987, she became a resident of the Arizona Pioneers’ Home, where she died on January 3, 1995. She was buried in Prescott’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Diane Shirley Heller Gay, daughter
January 2009

Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.