Medical 05

Dr. Mary Vanek

August 28, 1954 ~ August 5, 2018 (age 63)


Dr. Mary Vanek of Amarillo, died August 5, 2018. 

A vigil will be held at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, August 9, 2018 at Schooler Funeral Home Brentwood Chapel, 4100 S. Georgia St. Memorial mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 10, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, 1200 S. Washington St. Inurment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home.

Mary was 63 years old at the time of her death.  Mary was born August 28, 1954 to Patsy Ruth Hefner and Frank Vanek. 

Mary graduated from Amarillo High School in 1972; she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Texas Tech University in 1977, a Master of Arts Degree from University of Arkansas in 1983, a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Montana at Missoula in 1994 and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of North Texas in 1996.  Mary was a prolific and published writer.  Mary was an English Teacher, she taught at every university she attended and at West Texas A&M University.  Mary taught English as a second language at the University of Economics Prague, Czech Republic from 1990 -1991.  The year after the iron curtain fell. 

Mary graduated from the Downtown Women’s Center program in 2004, the year her mother passed away.  Mary worked for the City of Amarillo Police Department and Emergency Communication Center.  Following God's leaning in her life she entered St. Placid Priory a Benedictine monastic community in Lacy, Washington.  Mary’s health declined and she moved back to Amarillo.  Mary has been involved with helping people through her work at Amarillo Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs.  Mary served on the board of the Downtown Woman’s Center representing women in Recovery from substance abuse and addictions.  Mary always carried Holy Cards and Saints’ Medallions to give to anyone in need, she always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say.  She had such a sweet spirit, she will be greatly missed.

Mary was preceded in death by her mother and father; and her grandparents Ophelia and Ursel Valentine. 

She is survived by her step father, Dale Hefner and his wife Sandi; her sister Jennifer and husband John Williams of Amarillo; two brothers Joel Hefner and wife Rebecca of Leander, TX. and Guy Hefner and wife Cindy; step-brother Jimmy Dale Hefner; and step-sister Debra Hefner all of Amarillo; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to go to the Downtown Women’s Center. 

To plant a tree in memory of Dr. Mary Vanek, please visit our tribute store.


August 9, 2018

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Schooler Funeral Home Brentwood Chapel
4100 South Georgia
Amarillo, TX 79110

Memorial Mass
August 10, 2018

10:00 AM
St Mary's Cathedral
1200 S Washington St
Amarillo, TX 79102-1645

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