Mary Aram

Mary Hurd Aram

1960 - 2022

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Obituary of Mary Hurd Aram

Mary Hurd Aram, MS, RD, CDE, of Chico left this world as the new dawn approached on April 20, 2022. She died of natural causes at Enloe Hospital in Chico after a long, complex, and challenging illness. Mary passed quietly and comfortably with James Aram, her husband of 21 years, at her side. 

Mary is survived and deeply missed by her husband; her parents, Janet and Lee Hurd of Hanover, NH; her sisters Carol Kindle of Parkville, MO, and Virginia Kieswetter of Falmouth, ME; her step-daughter Sahaja Malone-Aram of Los Angeles; and one niece and three nephews. She loved spending time with her beloved family and in-laws, and she traveled to the east coast as often as she could to visit the “Eastern contingent.”

Born Mary Elizabeth Hurd in Keene, NH, on December 4, 1960, Mary was the oldest of Janet and Lee Hurd’s three children. She attended Hanover High School before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire. Then she earned her Master’s in Nutrition Education at California State University, Chico, after which she completed a post graduate Dietetic Internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. With her formal education behind her, she eagerly returned to her adopted home of Chico to begin her career. 

Mary was employed as an outpatient Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Enloe Medical Center until March 2019. For close to 30 years, she devoted herself to providing compassionate, outpatient nutrition services to untold numbers of patients. During her last 15 years at Enloe, Mary operated a part-time, private nutritional counseling practice for patients who could not obtain the specialized nutrition services they sought elsewhere in the community. Mary also taught nutrition classes as an associate faculty member at Butte Community College for approximately two years, and she was a nutrition consultant for the Whole Body Fitness gym in Chico for several years.

Mary loved her work and her patients. Her highly valued skills and activities in the field of nutritional counseling impacted the lives of countless patients with a wide range of nutritional and health challenges. Over her career she developed specialties in obstetric nutrition for diabetic and expectant mothers, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disease, pediatric and adult weight management, bariatric surgery nutrition, and sports nutrition. Mary maintained professional affiliations with the American Diabetes Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, frequently serving as a presenter at both local events and professional conferences outside the area. Mary played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the local California Sweet Success program, a clinical support program for diabetic, expectant mothers throughout Butte County. She held a state-wide leadership position in the California Dietetics Association and was a committed and active member of the North Valley Dietetic Association for several years. Mary’s colleagues in the nutrition community admire and appreciate her years of dedicated service to her profession, to her patients, and to the local healthcare community. 

Beyond her professional skills, Mary was a perpetually optimistic soul, despite her courageous 40-year struggle with rheumatoid arthritis. She bore the painful and crippling disease throughout her adult life with unlimited grace and dignity. Those who knew of her health challenges frequently called her “a real trooper,” citing her strength, courage, and resourcefulness as their own inspiration.

Mary was a remarkable woman and faithful friend. Acquaintances, complete strangers, and colleagues were drawn to Mary’s cheerful, positive personality and friendly, uplifting nature. She had a natural curiosity about everyone she met and was able to find common interests or topics to discuss with almost anyone. Mary touched thousands of lives—both professionally and personally.

Mary was a devoted follower of local, national, and international news and events. A persistent idealist, she always assumed others’ best intentions and sought to demonstrate and cultivate a culture of decency, justice, equity, and understanding—even as institutions, organizations, and sometimes even hope, seemed to collapse around her. She never gave up, even during life’s darkest moments.

Mary was an athlete in high school and swam competitively in college. Once she landed permanently in Chico, she extended her swimming career by coaching high school swimming and later, the age-group Gridley Swim Team. Swimming and training young athletes were passions for her. Mary often said she would have loved to have coached kids professionally—if it had only paid the bills.

Over their 20 years (plus) together, Mary and her husband enjoyed traveling widely, camping and canoeing at Juniper Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park, snow skiing, hiking, riding their bikes, watching Masterpiece dramas on PBS, attending community events, and caring for their two beloved labradoodles, Izzy and Priya. Mary took pleasure in reading geological and natural history books, usually purchased at places she visited. She loved all kinds of music. An unrealized dream was to attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (a renowned bagpipe and drum festival), then visit the Scottish Highlands, London, and on to Ireland from where her ancestors hailed. 

After taking up permanent residence in Chico, Mary maintained a long affiliation with the Bidwell Memorial Presbyterian Church where she served as an elder and loved singing in the choir. She and her husband “Aram” were joyfully married at “Bidwell Pres” on April 29, 2001. For the past 20 years, Mary joined Aram as a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship church, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. During that time, she was an active and essential participant in the Chico Meditation Circle of SRF, where she also served as a group leader and service reader. 

Without doubt, Mary’s departure from this world will leave a hole in the heart of anyone who knew or worked with her. Amid our grief, but also in honor of Mary’s unswerving faith, all of us may take comfort in knowing her indefatigable spirit now rests easily and at peace, without pain, in the joy of her divine home. 

A community celebration of Mary’s life will take place at Chico’s Trinity United Methodist Church, 285 E. Fifth St., on June 4, 2022, at 11:00 AM. Friends of Mary and Aram are invited to join the family for a light lunch following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Mary’s memory to your local National Public Radio station (https://www.npr.org) or Public Broadcasting Service (https://www.pbs.org)—two organizations Mary steadfastly supported and firmly believed to be positive and vital agents of change in our world.

Arrangements are under the direction of Brusie Funeral Home in Chico.

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