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Obituary: Mary Alice Wren Passes Away At 79

Garden City’s Wren family has announced the death of Mary Alice Wren, a writer, teacher and journalist who died from Alzheimer’s disease on Nov. 6.

Ms. Wren, a resident of Garden City for 41 years, was formerly a teacher at Adelphi University, an editor for Vantage Press and a freelance writer of essays, short stories and reviews for publications such as Ms., Newsday and The Village Voice.

Born in Alpena, Michigan, on July 1, 1933, as Mary Alice Rouse, the daughter of Aldro Martin Rouse and Pauline Robertson Rouse, Ms. Wren was raised in Atlanta, MI, and later in Lansing. She attended Michigan State University and then worked for a year as a newspaper reporter in Kalamazoo, MI, while waiting for her sister, Suzanne Rouse, to graduate from Michigan State. They then set out for New York, Ms. Wren as an aspiring writer and her sister as an aspiring actress.

In New York, Ms. Wren worked for Beauty Fashion magazine, and in 1960 married Charles Gayden Wren, a fellow Lansing native living in New York. They subsequently had four children, and relocated to Garden City in 1971. Ms. Wren subsequently earned a master’s degree in English literature from Adelphi University, later teaching writing and literature at the same school.

A private burial took place on Nov. 10 at Calverton National Cemetery, the burial place of Mr. Wren, who died in 2008.  The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Ms. Wren’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ms. Wren is survived by her siblings, Suzanne Rouse Stern of Kingston, NY, and Kendall Rouse of Madison, WI., as well as by her four children, C. Gayden Wren III of Steinway, N.Y., Kendall C. Wren of Hoboken, NJ, Carrie Prystalski of La Grange, IL, and Lauris P. Wren of Kew Gardens, as well as by five grandchildren: Lenny, Ben, Mary and Katie Prystalski of La Grange and Max Mills-Wren of Kew Gardens.

“The two things she loved most were her family and books,” her son Gayden said. “Books and words meant the world to her, and she passed on that love to her children and grandchildren, as well as to her students at Adelphi. Her favorite author was Jane Austen, her favorite book Pride and Prejudice, but she also was a devotee of modern novels and contemporary poetry, as well as a fan of modern art, grand opera, 1960s rock ‘n’ roll and classic country music.

“All her children are readers,” he concluded, “and all of us are musicians. That love of the arts is surely her greatest legacy to us.”