|Mary Patricia Kernan Harbison
Published in The Washington Post on Oct. 5, 2017
Mary Patricia Kernan Harbison
MARY PATRICIA HARBISON Mary Patricia Harbison
(née Kernan), 68, passed away peacefully on September 30,
2017, surrounded by her husband, three children and one of
her dear sisters, in Atlanta, GA.
Mary Pat was born on August 27, 1949 in Chicago, IL to
Joseph and Marian Kernan. Mary Pat was the third of nine children and lived in South Bend, IN
until age 16 when her father's work brought the family to Washington, D.C. Shortly after
arriving in Washington D.C. Mary Pat met the love of her life, Daniel Harbison, whom she
married in 1971. They celebrated their 46th anniversary in September 2017.
After graduating from Wilson High School in 1967, Mary Pat attended Merrimack College
where she earned a Bachelor of Psychology degree in 1971. Mary Pat went on to earn a
Masters of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1984. As one of several middle
children, Mary Pat knew how to get the attention of those around her. Whether it was with her
sparkling blue eyes and glorious smile, her fondness for being the life of the party or her
willingness to be a little more daring than most, Mary Pat left a lasting impression on everyone
Mary Pat was bright, athletic, spontaneous and energetic and she brought joy to every room
she entered. She possessed a contagious vibrancy that will be dearly missed. Mary Pat often
told her children to "leave it better than you found it" and she certainly did that during her 68
years. While Mary Pat held various jobs during her life, she was first and foremost a devoted
wife to Dan and loving mother to Jenny, Chrissy and Danny. Mary Pat and Dan raised their
children in Columbia, MD before moving to Rockville, MD.
After their children moved out of the home, Mary Pat and Dan spent more and more time in
their "favorite place on earth", their home on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to her husband and three children Mary Pat is survived by her six sisters and their
spouses (Barbara and Robert Christin, Maureen and Blair Einstein, Madeline and Patrick
Harbison, Susan and Dennis Woo, Jennifer and Mike Loveless, and Kelly and Edward
McCarty), two brothers and their spouses (Joseph and Margaret Kernan and Terrence and
Mary Susan Kernan), four grandchildren (Emma, Greta and Kernan Slease and Mary Scott
Harbison), a son-in-law (Peter Slease), a daughter-in-law (Whitney Harbison), and more than
two dozen nieces and nephews.
Family and friends may call Tuesday, October 10, 2017 from 4 to 7 p.m. and a Celebration of
Life will be held on October 11, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. Both events will be held at St. Elizabeth's
Catholic Church, Montrose Road, Rockville, MD.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in honor of Mary Pat Harbison to
Atlanta Medical Center South, ICU, 805 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA, 30066.