Mary Jean Lamb

mary jean lamb
Mary Jean Lamb, 88, died peacefully on November 3, 2014, in Fargo, ND, in her home with family at her side, and under Hospice care.
Mary Jean was born on July 14, 1924 to Frank and Lydia Bavendick in Bismarck, ND. She graduated from Bismarck High School in 1944. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Iowa State University in 1948 and continued with graduate studies in music at Northwestern University. 
She married her high school sweetheart, James L. Lamb, in 1949, after he returned from duty as a naval officer in WWII, and received his law degree. They began their 50 year marriage in Grand Forks, ND.
Mary Jean was very proud of her family. She raised six children in Grand Forks. In 2006, Mary Jean moved to Fargo, ND, where she enjoyed visits from her children and ten grandchildren.
She was an elegant woman and music was her passion. Music was an important part of her childhood and stayed with her throughout her life. In college, she sang in a quartet, and later served on the board of the Thursday Music Club. Most recently, she sang in the choir at Riverview Place in Fargo, ND, where she lived. She was an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) international music fraternity where she received several leadership awards and served as National By-laws Director.
Mary Jean lived with purpose. She served as chairman for the Red River Valley Red Cross, and was a disaster response staffing officer for the National American Red Cross. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters, and served on the boards of the Y Family Center, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of N.D., and Admissions Committee of UND Medical School. She was a member of the sorority alum club, Alpha Gamma Delta. Most recently while living at Riverview Place, she served as Resident Counsel President, liaison for the life-long learning Communiversity program, advisor on the Menu Planning Committee, mentor in the Giving + Learning Program, and read scripture at Riverview Chapel Sunday Mass, as well as worked with the marketing department on tours to prospective residents.
She was involved with politics throughout her life. She attended the 1960 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles as an alternate delegate and was a regular delegate to the N.D. Democratic Convention.
Mary Jean enjoyed travel. She studied abroad and traveled the world.       
She is survived by her brother, Frank (Joanne) Bavendick (Bismarck, ND) and sister, Dolores Harrington (Roseville, CA); and her six children: Larry, Minneapolis, MN; David, Bismarck, ND; Timothy (Elizabeth), Grand Forks, ND; Brian (Cheryl Stone), Minneapolis, MN; Steven (Arlene), Fargo, ND; and, Jeanne (Mark Herman), Duluth, MN.
Her grandchildren are: James (Karen), Andover, MN; Thomas, Kauai, HI; Nicole, St. Paul, MN; Kylie, Pottstown, PA; Emmett, San Diego, CA; Hanna, New York City, NY; Jon, Minneapolis, MN; Ashley, Duluth, MN; Molly and Kailash, Fargo, ND.  She has two great grandchildren, Cameron and Kylie Esch, Andover, MN.
The family requests that memorials be given to the Fargo/Moorhead SAI Alum Scholarship (438 Birch Lane, Moorhead, MN 56560); or, the American Heart Association.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Moorhead MN
    I had the good fortune of working with Mary Jean through the Giving+Learning Program. She was full of vim and vigor, always full of new ideas and eager to help new Americans learn English to better their opportunities in the United States and help them to achieve their goals of self-sufficiency.

    Mary Jean would stop by my office to talk most days. She once had me to her apartment to show me her boxes of hats that she kept under her bed. She had a story behind each hat and told me that she missed the days dearly in which she would wear these grand hats.

    She perfectly painted a world for me in which ladies wore huge hats and stunning outfits on a daily basis. She would sigh and tell me that she missed those days. She made me yearn for days I had never lived just by rifling through her hat collection with her.

    Mary Jean is unforgettable. I’m grateful I was able to know her.

  2. Newburgh INLarry and family,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Terri

  3. Newburgh INLarry and family,
    I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Terri

  4. To the family of Ms. Mary J Lamb,
    I am truly sorry for your loss. What a grand lady! God see your tears and invite you to pour your heart out to him in prayer and he will comfort you … 2 Kings 20:5.

  5. Bismarck ND
    Larry, I was so sorry to read that your Mother has passed away.
    Please know that you and your sibblings are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Jennie (Abar) Buckley
    Bismarck, ND

  6. Grand Forks ND
    Larry and family, we are so sorry to read of your mom’s death. I remember her from High School, especially when we had the party at your house! I do remember her as a very impressive woman. It’s very difficult to lose your mom, especially if it means that “both” parents are gone. Take care Larry. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sheila and Doug

  7. Chesapeake VADavid, Tim and family,
    I’m sorry to learn of your mothers passing. As families move to different locations from where they grew up sadly we often find ourselves returning for special occassions, such as weddings and lost loved ones. May the reunion of your family give you comfort in shared memories of your mother and those times you remembering growing up in her home.

    God bless your family in this difficult time, Rick Monson CHS 71

  8. Port Charlotte FLSorry to learn of the Death of Mary Jean Lamb. You all have my sincere Sympathy. Richard O Tryhus

  9. Tigard ORDear Lamb Family,
    May your mother have eternal peace and joy with our loving God and know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I have fond memories of her and your family growing up in Grand Forks.

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