Mary Katherine Van Sant Conniff
MARY KATHERINE VAN SANT CONNIFF SEPTEMBER 3, 2016 Mary Katherine Van Sant Conniff, 94, of Kailua, a retired educator and editor, died in Kaneohe, Hawaii. She was born in Fulton, Missouri to a prominent banking family. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, she taught nutrition. She came to Hawaii in 1946 as Coordinator of the Distributive Education Programs at Roosevelt, McKinley, Farrington and Kaimuki High Schools. She was also a contributing editor to the Paradise of the Pacific (Honolulu Magazine) in the early 1960s. Preceded in death by her husband, George W. Conniff, and daughter, Katherine Conniff Link, she is survived by sister Frances Green, brother James Van Sant, nephews John Green, Thomas Van Sant, Jacob Van Sant, niece Kathy Green and three great nieces, Francesca, Lucy and Georgia Van Sant. Mary was always an avid reader and writer, and an excellent cook. She and her late husband traveled frequently in retirement, and enjoyed numerous trips abroad, in particular to France, where they loved visiting Michelin-starred restaurants. Mary was a charter member of the Windward O'ahu (HI) Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) (windward-hi.aauw.net) and a strong leader for over 50 years. Although she never served as branch president, she held many other leadership roles as well as being the corporate memory of the branch. Mary demonstrated her passion for education for women repeatedly, especially by her remarkable and varied efforts to raise money for scholarships for local women since the 1970s. She originated the Wonderful Book Exchange that has been a source of scholarship funds as well as reading materials since the 1980s. She also founded what was affectionately called the "Susan B. Anthony Bank/ Sakagawea Branch" that also awarded scholarship grants for over ten years. Most importantly, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Windward O'ahu AAUW Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, where she served as its first president and provided that endowment fund with its first gift. Mary was most proud of the fact that her efforts resulted in dozens of Windward O'ahu women having the funds to further their college education. Mary was a lifelong Democrat, and her father, Thomas Van Sant was a Delegate-at-Large along with Harry S Truman to the 1936 Democratic National Convention. Born just a year after women in the United States got the right to vote, Mary frequently said that she wanted to live long enough to vote for the first woman to run for president, Hillary Clinton. One of Mary's favorite sayings came from the suffragist Susan B Anthony: "Failure is Impossible". She will be greatly missed by all of her many friends. Private Services. Memorial donations may be made to the Windward O`ahu AAUW Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1683, Kailua, HI 96734. A scholarship has been established in her memory.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased