Homeless woman memorialized

A memorial service is scheduled for Mary Ann Smith from 10 to 11 a.m., Thursday, March 22, at Carpenter’s Place, 1149 Railroad Ave. Mary Ann Smith was the homeless woman whose frozen body was found last week near Railroad Avenue and Seventh Street. She was a long-time homeless guest at Carpenter’s Place.

“In her years of coming to Carpenter’s Place, Mary touched the lives of many people including our staff, volunteers and homeless guests. She was also well known by workers at other local agencies that provide services to the homeless,” noted Cathy Barsema, director of Guest Services at CP. “Mary had a unique personality; once you met her, you didn’t forget her. We have received calls from numerous people about her death and their desire for a memorial service.”

Pastor Jeff Peterson of Rockford Reachout Jail Ministry will conduct the service that will include readings from scripture, a eulogy, music and time for mourners to share a short story or memory of Mary. Members of the community are welcome to attend the memorial service.

“We often hear reports about prostitution in Rockford, but until I met Mary, I didn’t have a face and personality to put with those reports,” said Kay Larrick, director of Agency Advancement at CP. “Mary made the sadness of prostitution real to me. I grieve the loss of her life and yet am comforted to believe she is finally at peace. Her life of mental illness, homelessness, prostitution, abuse and addiction was hell on Earth.”

Carpenter’s Place is a local, not-for-profit agency that provides a wide range of services to homeless men and women including case management, housing, job readiness, daytime shelter, meals, clothing, laundry, mail and message services, and other needed support. For more information, contact Kay Larrick (ext. 211) or Cathy Barsema (ext. 202) at (815) 964-4105 or KAYL@carpentersplace.org or CATHYB@carpentersplace.org

from the March 21-28, 2007, issue

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