Enright-Ebnet worked as chemist


Mary Ann Enright-Ebnet

Former Haines resident Mary Ann Enright-Ebnet, whose interest in science became a career as a chemist on the North Slope, died suddenly Jan. 24 of a massive brain hemorrhage. She was 59.

Husband Marvin and her two children, Adam and Angeline, were at her side, family members said.

Mary Ann was the eighth of 10 children of fisherman Michael Enright and his wife, Olga. Born and raised in the Bristol Bay village of Ugashik, she was sent to Haines at age 7 for schooling.

Her older siblings already were in school here, as Ugashik had no school and her parents wanted her to have an education, said Nora Enright Clayton Krake, Mary Ann’s sister and the family’s eldest child.

“Daddy asked whether we wanted to go to school in Haines and we said sure,” Krake said. Before her mother moved here in 1964, Mary Ann lived with local families.

Former Haines science teacher Bob Henderson said he remembered Mary Ann visiting his farm as a child. She was later part of a class of serious students for whom Henderson held seminars in preparation for college-level biology. “She wasn’t the best student I ever had but she made up for it because she worked. She was very determined.”

Mary Ann lived with the Tengs family for several years. Christy Tengs Fowler said Mary Ann was neat, well-organized and meticulous about everything. “She was just like a sister to my mother and me and very dear to my mother. We always joked that she was the only one of us who (succeeded).”

When her father died before Mary Ann graduated from high school, Henderson became a mentor, offering advice during her college years. The two maintained a correspondence and she continued to phone him every year at Christmas, he said.

Mary Ann attended American International College in Springfield, Mass. and graduated in 1976 with a degree in medical technology. She returned to Alaska and worked at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

In 1978, she began a career with Atlantic Richfield Company and later was hired by BP Exploration as a chemist and chemistry lab supervisor. For the past four years she worked in mechanical integrity as a team leader. In the early 1990s, her employer bought Henderson a plane ticket to come tour her chemistry lab on the North Slope.

“She was just one of those people you get acquainted with and you never lose sight of,” Henderson said this week. “I really enjoyed being around her. I’m just heartbroken that her life was cut short.”

Family members said that through her 34 years in the oil industry, Mary Ann’s co-workers became her beloved extended family and that she was admired and highly respected.

Mary Ann spent part of her summers at the family setnet site in Bristol Bay for most of her adult life. She enjoyed cooking, entertaining, home decorating and world travel.

Mary Ann is survived by her husband Marvin, son Adam and daughter Angeline; sisters Margaret, Eileen, Hannah, Nora, Hattie, and Kathy; brothers Tim and Maurice; mother-in-law Edna Ebnet; brother-in-laws Allen, Duane and Arthur Ebnet.

She was preceded in death by her father Michael; mother Olga; brother Tommy; sister-in-law Diane and father-in-law Lawrence Ebnet.

A celebration of life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, 2901 East Huffman Road, Anchorage. A viewing at 9 a.m. will be followed by mass at 10 a.m. A luncheon reception will follow.

Flowers are welcome or donations in her memory can be made to Holy Spirit Center, 10980 Hillside Dr., Anchorage, 99507.


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