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Monday, January 7, 2013

Telluride Daily Planet obituary

Mother and spiritual figure Mary Friedberg passes away

Photo by Rio Coyotl

‘She lived life in a magical way’ 

By Katie Klingsporn
Editor
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012 12:28 PM CST
Mary Friedberg, a deeply spiritual woman and friend to many who lived in Telluride and Norwood for several years, passed away on Nov. 25 at her Wilson Mesa Home after battling cancer. She was 58.

Friedberg, whose was called Mary Faery by loved ones, was a mother and friend who is remembered as a deeply spiritual woman with a gypsy streak and boundless generosity. She was passionate about Tibetan Buddhism and dakini dancing, and she had a special light about her, friends say.

“Mary was a wonderful, kind person,” said Art Goodtimes, her husband. “I think her kindness touched everybody, and her spirituality was inspiring.”

Friedberg was born in New York City in 1954, and went to elementary school in Wisconsin and high school in New Jersey before heading to college and ultimately graduating from Evergreen College. She studied environmental sciences and went on to work as a botanist for the U.S. Forest Service, including stints at fisheries in Alaska.

But it was her time in the Peace Corps, Goodtimes said, that was a defining experience in her life.

Friedberg was sent to the Phillipines and was assigned to work on a forestry project with the Ati tribe on a small island of the archipelago. But when she got there, Goodtimes said, she saw that the assignment was bogus and asked the tribe instead what they wanted her to do. They answered that they wanted to own the land they lived on. She set out to accomplish their request, and worked through two different regimes to obtain title to the land for the people, Goodtimes said.

“It was a stunning achievement,” he said.

During her time there, she learned the Ati language and had some amazing and life-changing experiences.

Friedberg returned to the United States and worked for the Forest Service, and soon had a daughter, Sarah. She then moved to Hood River, Ore., for another Forest Service gig. It was at a Rainbow Gathering in Oregon 15 years ago that she met Goodtimes. They began a romance, and she ended up moving to Norwood when they had a son, Gregorio. She later lived in and around Telluride when the couple separated, working at Society Turn Conoco and for Dave’s Mountain Tours.

Friedberg was very interested in Tibetan Buddhism and all colors of spirituality, Goodtimes said, and was a very independent spirit. She held dakini dances at her yurt in Norwood, loved to dance and was loving to all in her circle.

“She had a bit of gypsy in her blood,” he said. “She was a spiritual person who took eclectically from different religions … She lived life in a magical way which is hard to do in our society.”

Friedberg is survived by Goodtimes, her daughter Sara Mae Friedberg, son Gregorio Rainbow Osha', father Harold, brothers Bill and Bob and sister Jean Friedberg Ozler.

The Mary Friedberg Memorial Fund for the benefit of her children has been established at Alpine Bank.

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