Mary Hathaway papers: 1980-2003
full text File Size: 64 K bytes | how to request materials

Biography

Mary Hathaway grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., attending First Presbyterian Church throughout most of her life. Throughout the early 1980s she served as a church Elder (member of the governing Session) and as an active member of a number of committees and task forces. In 1981 she started to become involved in the Ann Arbor peace community through her work organizing, along with her son Will, a community forum on national security. She continued to be a mainstay of the Ann Arbor peace community working with a number of community groups fostering peace and nuclear disarmament.

In 1983 Mary Hathaway, with her son Will and a number of other community leaders, organized the Coalition for Arms Control. The coalition began in response to Cold War nuclear proliferation. The coalition grew out of a protest of US Representative Carl Pursell's office by Will Hathaway and other University of Michigan students in 1983 but the effort soon became a more broad-based community organization in which Mary and John Hathaway as well as their son Will, were all actively involved. The CAC grew into a lobbying organization comprised of 15 community groups based in Michigan's Second Congressional District.

During the early 1980s, at the same time that the Hathaways were working with the Coalition Against Arms Control, Mary was also involved in Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, and in local, grassroots efforts to provide shelter for Ann Arbor's homeless population. She was instrumental in opening the Arbor Haven emergency shelter.

Additionally, she helped to found the Peace Task Force in 1981 in response to a nationwide denominational call for a renewed commitment to peacemaking within the Church. The task force sponsored a yearly "Peace Week", hosted a lay-education series presenting classes and lectures focused on social justice issues, and engaged their larger community through participation in the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.

A related effort carried on by Mary Hathaway and other members of First Presbyterian was the Deliverance movement. Deliverance was a Church-driven initiative dedicated to temporarily housing and otherwise assisting Central American refugees seeking asylum in Canada. Mrs. Hathaway acted as the chair of First Presbyterian's El Salvador Study Group Deliverance Committee, a committee that grew out of the recommendations of the original study group. The Deliverance Committee hosted Central American refugees and assisted them in being granted legal asylum in Canada.

Mrs. Hathaway remained active in her church's Peace Task Force, as well as the Coalition Against Arms Control, the longevity of which was the topic of Will Hathaway's master's thesis. In the early 1990s she also became very active in the Coalition Against War in the Gulf and other local peace organizations.

In addition to her work for peace and social justice, Hathaway was also very active in preserving the historic character of downtown Ann Arbor. She served on the Historic District Committee, the Downtown Historic Development Study Committee, and was the chairperson of the Downtown Loft Task Force. Her work, and that of her peers on these committees, was instrumental in creating many of Ann Arbor's historic districts. Mary Hathaway passed away on October 6, 2019.