Mary Westra

Mary Westra

Mary Rondeau Westra grew up in Northeast Minneapolis. She graduated from Macalester College and taught French for eight years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. When her two daughters and son became teenagers, she went back to work, launching a 10-year career of fundraising for arts organizations. She retired from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2002, shortly after the murder of her son, Peter. She became a Master Gardener and museum guide and started writing. Mary continues to be inspired by Peter. Over the years since his murder, she has reached out to other parents of children who have been murdered — writing them letters or picking up the phone. She stays in contact with a number of Peter's close friends from childhood and Middlebury College. And every year on July 8, she and her husband, and any family or friends who are present, wake up early and go down to their dock on the lake, sitting together to mark the hour that Peter lived after the attack in Atlantic City. Mary and her husband, Mark, live in White Bear Lake, Minn. They bike and hike together, watch birds, play golf, and Mary tends the garden; they spend time with their adult daughters, and Mary has begun to knit for her first grandchild, born in 2010.

Articles:

Open to  hope

Letter to Family After a Death

Dear Extended Family of Peter, Christmas is over. We made it. Now we await his birthday, the anniversary of his death, other Christmases, wedding, other funerals. We sincerely thank you […]

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Open to  hope

Forgiving Killers is a Process

They were just faces to me. I wouldn’t make eye contact. Instead I focused on their clothes . . . grey-white sweatshirts, denim shirts, jeans, white sneakers. They didn’t look […]

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Open to  hope

Orioles and Wood Ducks: Birds of Hope

I never used to pay much attention to the birds. To me, they were just little brown blobs I’d notice from the corner of my eye while I was flitting […]

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Open to  hope

Mom Opens to Forgiveness After Son’s Murder

I don’t find forgiveness a very easy concept to deal with after the murder of my son. My 24-year-old son Peter was kicked to death by bouncers in Atlantic City, […]

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Open to  hope

Hating the Holidays

The unease creeps in around Halloween. The bags of miniature candy, the masks, the decorations box waiting to be unpacked, lights at the front door, goblins to greet. It’s just […]

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Open to  hope

Address Book Links Then … and Now

Early in the morning of Sunday, July 8, 2001, the sheriff drove up to our house and the chaplain told us through the screen door that our twenty-four year old […]

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