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A Sad Day For Lactation

A Great Woman

On January 20, 2010, at 3:30pm, the lactation world lost one of our leading modern pioneers.  Mary Rose was a daughter, wife of 42 years, mother, teacher, researcher, advocator, inventor, author, award winner, and most importantly a fighter in every form of the word. Mary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and had surgery and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy was not effective and the cancer had spread too far for radiation to be used.  And today she lost her final battle.  Her memory will live on forever in the enormous works she has done for breastfeeding.

Link to obtituary-http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?n=mary-r-tully&pid=138730862

Mary Rose Tully, MPH, IBCLC, is a noted lactation consultant, Director of the Department of Lactation Services at the University of North Carolina’s Women’s Hospital, and Adjunct Clinical Instructor (Pediatrics) at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine. Her area of research is human breast milk. In the mid 1970s, she helped establish the non-profit Piedmont Milk Bank, now known as the WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank and Lactation Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a founding member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America in 1985 (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Rose_Tully)

A Note sent from one of her good friends to announce her goodbye to our world

”Sorry to use our official email listserv for a non-business purpose, but I knew you would all want to know that Mary Tully died at 3:30 this morning (on her 42nd wedding anniversary). She asked that I pass it on to everyone that she would like us to celebrate her life with laughter and with music and not go around all sad-faced and crying. We want to carry on her work helping others in any ways that we can.

Two funds have been established for donations (in lieu of flowers). Go to her Caring Bridge website for the details and the plans for her memorial service at:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maryrosetully

Mary Overfield
A few websites that state her bio:


  1. Dear friends:

    Mary Rose was also pleased to be an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Public Health. She was the inspiration (and much of the perspiration) behind the development, implementation and funding of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in the Department of Maternal and Child Health where she co-taught 2 courses and offered lectures in many others.
    She particularly wanted us to start a lactation consultant training program for masters students, and possibly some day to expand to accept others.
    Last summer, she started this effort, which we (unofficially) named the Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative last year. We will now be seeking official status for this name.

    Now that the business is done, please allow me to add a personal note.

    Mary Rose has been a colleague and friend for decades, but in recent years, since she contributed to the effort to bring me down here, she has been my closest colleague and confidante. If things had been otherwise, we would have been driving up to DC today to room together at the USBC and national state coalitions meeting. At this moment we would have been scheming or gossiping or singing together.
    I have missed her during her illness, and will feel her absence always. AND she promised me, that wherever she is, she will be letting us know, somehow, what we need to do to fulfill her dreams for breastfeeding, milk banking, and for the lactation consultant profession.


  2. I am saddened to hear of Mary’s passing. She was a great mentor and I learned so much from her lectures and inservices during my 4 years with the Breast Feeding Support Program. My thought’s and prayer’s go out to her family and all of those she touched. Mary will be truly missed.
    Angel Wheeler

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