Mary H. Kidd, 97, died on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, while living at the Summerhill Assisted Living center in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
From her birth on October 4, 1920, in New York City, Mary lived a fascinating life in many parts of the world and nourished lasting, caring relationships with people from varied cultures. She was born to Czechoslovak immigrants, John (a cabinet maker) and Lucie (Vecere) Horak on a warm Monday in October. Mary was the youngest of three children. Fr. Martin John Horak was her eldest sibling, and Lucie M. Horak was her older sister. Mary attended the Sacred Heart Academy in Lisle, Illinois and went to college at New York University. Mary's Czech roots, education, and court stenographer talents assisted her in obtaining a job as a Foreign Staff Officer and translator at the U.S. Embassy in Prague during the beginning of the cold war in January of 1949.
Mary was a significant factor in the trial of Associated Press and New York Times journalist, William N. Oatis. He was charged by the Czech government of espionage in 1951. Mary was one of only two Americans allowed to attend the trial that had gained international attention. As requested by the State Department, Mary transcribed and translated the entire proceedings. Her transcription and investigation of the "official" Czech government translation helped identify where the Czech officials had fraudulently altered Oatis' testimony. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but Mary's work aided in his release in 1953.
While working at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Mary met the love of her life, Coburn Byron Kidd. Coburn was born on a farm in Oklahoma. However, his future was traveling the world and performing political Foreign Service duties on behalf of the United States Department of State. At the time he met Mary, Coburn was the chief of the Political Section of the Vienna Embassy. They married in 1952 and Coburn held senior Foreign Service positions for additional U.S. Embassies in London, Tokyo, Bonn, and Hamburg. During these state department assignments, Mary entertained dignitaries from countries all over the world: President John F. Kennedy, Willy Brandt, John Foster Dulles, Harold Macmillan, Nobusuke Kishi and many others.
Mary and Coburn retired to Jaffrey Center in 1969. Together they became involved with the community by participating in many community organizations including the Jaffrey Center Village Improvement Society, Jaffrey Woman's Club, and her church, St. Patrick's Church in Jaffrey. Coburn passed away on September 16, 1981, and Mary continued to live in the same house they bought when they moved to Jaffrey.
Mary is not survived by any living relatives. However, she leaves behind dozens of adoring friends around the globe who were touched by her boundless love, generosity, humor, and devotion to faith.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church at 87 Main Street in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Reverend Wilfred H. Deschamps, pastor of St. Patrick's and Fr. John J. Hurley of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle of Washington, D.C. will co-officiate. Burial will follow at the Cutter Cemetery in Jaffrey where she will rest beside her beloved Coburn. After the burial ceremony, a reception for Mary's dear friends will commence at The Monadnock Inn in Jaffrey.
Mary's friends would like to thank the incredibly caring and loving staff of Summerhill Assisted Living. Her brief stay there was a tremendously happy time for Mary. She met old friends, made new friends and loved every member of the superb Summerhill team.
A 2014 video interview with Mary about her incredible life as well as more biographical information and photos can be explored at (www.marykidd.net).