Mary Bracken Neale, a retired natal intensive care nurse and ocean sailor, died of cancer May 10 at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Towson resident was 74.
Born Mary Elizabeth Bracken in Baltimore and raised on Atwood Road, she was the daughter of Thomas Bracken, a National Labor Relations Board attorney, and Adeline Ogier Bracken, an award-winning athlete and graduate of what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Mrs. Neale attended St. Mary's of the Assumption School in Govans and was a 1958 graduate of Maryvale Preparatory School. She earned bachelor's and nursing degrees at Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington.
She was a Baltimore City Health Department public health nurse who later nursed at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She then left Baltimore and was a nurse aboard the hospital ship Hope in the Caribbean.
She later worked in hospitals in Ireland, Guam and Vancouver, Canada. She most frequently worked in natal intensive care units.
Family members said she crossed the Atlantic twice on a 33-foot sailboat.
The second time she crossed the Atlantic was in 1976, with her husband and 1-year-old son. They sailed from Southampton, U.K., with a stop in St. Lucia, to Baltimore. She continued her sailing and later explored the Pacific for almost two years from Vancouver, Canada, to Chile, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong before returning to Vancouver, where she lived for two decades. She returned to Baltimore in 2000.
"My mother was an accepting person. She did not judge people," said her son, Sailor Owen Neale of Bozeman, Mont. "She was not a talker. She was a quiet and caring person."
Mrs. Neale was a genealogist and researched her family ancestry and assisted others. She was the registrar of the Mary Young Pickersgill Chapter of the Daughters of 1812 and the Ann of Arrundell Chapter of the Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century.
She was the secretary of the Pregnancy Center West board of directors.
She won first-place prizes for her handwork at the Maryland State Fair. She made baby wardrobes and enjoyed knitting, embroidery, micro-cross stitch and sewing.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, Hickory Avenue and 37th Street, where she was a member.
In addition to her son, survivors include her husband of 41 years, Dai Neale, a retired boat builder; two brothers, Joseph M. Bracken of Falls Church, Va., and Matthew J. Bracken of Orange Park, Fla.; six sisters, Teresa B. Fromme of Towson, Jane B. Mace of Baltimore, Clare B. Strange of Christchurch, New Zealand, Cornelia B. Shockley of Baltimore, Elizabeth B. Elliott of Wilton, Conn., and Patricia B. Forman of Suffolk, Va.; and a grandson.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun