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Mary Low Cheadle (1915-2008)

Posted by UCSB Libraries on July 2, 2008

Mary and Vernon Cheadle

Mary Low Cheadle, the widow of former Chancellor Vernon I. Cheadle (1910-1995), died in her sleep Monday morning, June 30. She moved from Santa Barbara to Louisville, Kentucky, in 2000 to be near her only son Bill, a surgeon, his wife Mary, and their two sons. Since 2006, she had been living with Bill and Mary. She had been in declining mental and physical health for the last few months, and she slipped into a coma about a week ago. Mary was born in 1915 and would have been 93 this September.

Mary graduated from Rhode Island College in Providence, and became a teacher in the Kingston, RI, public school system. She and Vernon married in 1939, while Vernon was on the faculty of Rhode Island State College. In 1952 they moved to UC Davis, and in 1962 Vernon was named Chancellor at UCSB. Mary made deep connections in the community and at the University–she was always a fully engaged partner in Vernon’s work. Vernon retired in 1977 and he and Mary continued to be actively involved at the University and in the city of Santa Barbara.

Mary felt a special connection with the Library, and she was a member of the Friends of the Library for many years. She chaired the group from 1988 until 1991. In 1994, she created the Mary Low Cheadle Endowment for Special Collections; the Mary Cheadle Room, next to the administrative offices on the third floor, was named in her honor.

Members of the Library community who met Mary in March 2007 at a coffee held in her honor in her namesake room will remember her as a gracious and gentle person, with a generous spirit and an authentic interest in others. She was also a woman of keen intelligence with a well-developed sense of fun.

Memorials can be made to the Davidson Library or to the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. To make a gift to the Library, send checks made out to the “UC Regents” for the Mary and Vernon Cheadle Fund to Kim Thompson, Director of Development, Davidson Library, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010, call Kim at (805) 893-5732, or email

Photo of Mary and Vernon Cheadle from UCSB Libraries Department of Special Collections.


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