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Service: Mary Jean Ricci

Mary Jean “Gram” Ricci of Brattleboro, VT, passed away peacefully at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Mary was born on July 12, 1954 to Gene and Bea Urbach of Baton Rouge, LA. She was a graduate of Saint Mary’s high school in Natchitoches, LA. Mary found life and love in many pursuits. A gymnast in her own right, she enjoyed nearly all sports and competitive activities. A diehard LA Lakers and New Orleans Saints fan, Mary rarely missed a game or an opportunity to talk sports with Rich while nurturing their life at home.

Mary’s professional life was far from typical, never dull, and thoroughly empowered by service to others and selfless purpose. Starting as a physician’s assistant, Mary quickly found a deep and enduring passion for helping others through modern medicine. Her commitment to those people guided Mary to her proudest professional achievement and calling in midwifery. As assistant to Dr. Hai Abdul, Mary was instrumental in developing his and later their medical practice as they went on to pioneer natural childbirth practices in Southern California, bringing over 4000 new lives into this world. Their partnership was also responsible for influencing chiropractic therapy for pregnant women and postpartum/pediatric care in partnership with renowned Pediatrician, Dr. Paul Fleiss. A real success in this field, their impact in the world of natural childbirth was notable and revered.

Mary’s love and devotion to the health and care of others didn’t stop at her own personal goals. A true humanist, Mary found fulfillment in volunteer work and social activism through her involvement in the Gay rights and AIDS research movements in association with Cedar Sinai Hospital of Los Angeles during the early 80s.Though she took great pride and honor in her career and aspirations, Mary’s family was where she found real joy in life. Her happiest of years were those spent together with her husband and all of her children in Brattleboro. A period of several perfect years filled with love and togetherness. It was Mary’s absolute joy to cook her signature recipes for her family, never herself eating until everyone else was fed and full. Years full of birthday gatherings, holiday barbecues, and game nights, where she enjoyed watching her kids fight over who got to team with her in trivial pursuit.

Mary found peace at home lovingly sharing affections with her husband and her loyal companions, her cats… who never failed to show her love. Forever the humanist, she would later spend her days at home with simple joys, sometimes yelling about social and political atrocities of the world as she gracefully surrendered the joys of past times finding an appreciation for the solace she so deservingly earned through a life of love and service. Mary lived a life of balance, experiencing nearly all this life could offer. And though sadly that included an unfair share of pain and suffering, she was consistently and unknowingly dropping wisdom…real pearls for those who would simply lower themselves to pick it up. If you were fortunate enough to have known her, Mary imparted in you all you would ever need to live a good and balanced life of your own. Far more than missed, Mary leaves a void in this world that when was full, was overflowing with LIFE!

She is survived and will be missed by many loved ones, Mary was never without the deep love and devotion of her husband Rich “Papa“ Ricci. A union of 37 years, their marriage consistently supported and fostered the love and raising of Mary’s five children and 18 grand babies. Never less than a good and true father, Rich, stepfather to David and Mark Solomon of Mary’s first marriage to David Solomon Sr. of Natchitoches, LA and Rasheed, Shafiq, and Brehana Abdul of her later marriage to now deceased Dr. Hai Abdul of Los Angeles, CA. Rich was Mary’s home and steadfast protector and she, his true love and purpose in life.

“You brought me life, you saved my life, and you showed me how to live it…my fierce and beautiful mother, my hero! Thank you”
Your Proud Son,

A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held on January 8th, 2022, at 11am at St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, VT. The Cremation Society of New Hampshire has been entrusted with arrangements. To view an online tribute, leave a message of condolence or for more information please visit

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January 8
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