Mary K. Tombalakian was born in Beirut, Lebanon on July 25, 1937 and passed away in Sudbury on June 4, 2011.
She married Artin Tombalakian, now a professor emiritus at Laurentian and a Thorneloe supporter, in St. Nichan Armenian Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon on Aug. 23, 1959.
They have three daughters — Celia, Nora and Lisa — and two grand-daughters — Daisy Grace and Penelope Rose.
Mary, also a registered nurse, served as a science teacher at the St. Elizabeth Nursing School in Sudbury, an administrative co-ordinator at Laurentian Hospital and a health educator at the Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division.
She was also a health and safety consultant with the Ontario Service Safety Alliance helping small businesses comply with the Ontario Occupational Act. Her many contributions to the community include extensive volunteer work with the Museum and Arts Centre and the Laurentian University Alumni Association.
“We sense that mom would be pleased with Dad’s choice of Thorneloe to honour mom’s memory, in particular, for its Religious Studies and Women’s Studies Departments,” Lisa Tombalakian said at the dedication ceremony.
“God was a part of the daily discussion in our home with the day ending with bedtime prayers. My Mom also believed so much in the value of education and some of her career choices reflect this.”
Thorneloe University president Rev. Robert Derrenbacker said he welcomed the opportunity to recognize Mary, “a longtime volunteer and health-care provider who valued education and community service.”
“Mary K. Tombalakian was a role model and inspiration for those who followed in her footsteps,” he said.
Lisa said her mother was pleased that she and her sisters all have post-graduate degrees.
“Mom believed that education would help all women make better choices and be free of financial dependence,” she said.
“When students come to this classroom and perhaps take notice of this plaque, we hope that in some way my mom’s inner and outer beauty, her strong faith, and her belief in education and equality for all, will inspire them to make a greater contribution and to go further.”
Posted by Arron Pickard