Akwesasne – Mary(Wari) Herne (92) on Wednesday September 30, 2020, was carried to the royal courts of heaven on the wings of angels as she was wrapped in love and good medicine by her family, both immediate family and chosen alike. Mary was the queen, matriarch, and CEO of her family as well as the don of Iakhihsohtha. Her presence is going to be missed dearly, but there are so many family members and people waiting for her on the other side and celebrating her as she joins them.
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Mary was born September 29, 1928, in God’s Country, Sugar Bush, Akwesasne, to Mose and Josephine (Curry) Lazore. Mary and her late husband, James Herne, proudly welcomed three handsome strapping boys and then came the surprise, a little girl to join the crowd, on Shay Hill. Their marriage was filled with 40 years of love, laughter, and a bit of scolding. As Mary would say, “I worked for him.” Now, the State Road King and Sugar Bush Queen are together again to share another dance.
Wari was well known for her strength and work ethic that came from her hard-working farm life. The woman had many different hustles to help support her family, such as basket-making, cooking her famous donuts and bread, quilting, and cleaning for Rose Kaufman in Massena. Mary was educated at the Snye Indian Day School until 8th grade.
Wari cared for all those around her throughout the years. She was known for being a fixture at all the funerals throughout Akwesasne to say a prayer or sing a song. As a pillar of the church, Mary went above and beyond. From donations like the baptismal font to being a dedicated and loyal member to many organizations including the Altar & Rosary Society, the original Mohawk Choir, the Kateri Circle, the Akwesasne Singers, and the Auxillary Legion; Mary’s heart belonged to the Lord and the Saint Regis Mohawk Church. In addition to the local activities, Mary coordinated for the parishioners to attend services in pilgrimage to Quebec City at St. Anne De Beaupre, St. Josephs in Montreal, and the Shrine at Three Rivers, Kateri weekend at Fonda and Auriesville every Labor Day Weekend and many Kateri Tekakwitha Conferences etc. Mary was one of the main forces that pushed for the recognition of Kateri Tekakwitha into sainthood. She was a leader and a force to be reckoned with.
Mary is predeceased by her parents Mose and Josephine Lazore and her siblings – Florence Cook, Sarah Lazore, Dave Curry, and Jean-Louis and Louise Lazore in infancy. Also predeceasing her were the first family John, Harriet, Helen, Jake and Angus.
Mary is survived by: her children - Arthur, Raymond (Cecelia), Wilbur (Alice), and Kathy (Mark); her cherished grandchildren - Danielle (David), Amber (Thanaokate), Sarah (Daniel), Jenna (Wayne), Kyle, Marcy(Tom), Mary (Andre), Sean, Louie (Valerie), Abraham (Benjamin), Isaiah, Jacob, Arianna, and Heather; and greatgrandchildren – Kaitlynn (Moose), Mathew (Haley), Rachael (Jacob), Ienonkwahawis, Tharonhianente, Teieweratenies, Kahetahawi, Ionontakweniio, Ross, Jimmy, Kianna, Dawson, Louie, and Parker.
Mary enjoyed surrounding herself with family and friends. She loved to play bingo and cards. Mary loved to brag about the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren and was quick to tell anyone that would listen. As far as mothers and grandmother go, we could not have asked for better. She never needed thanks, so please take the time to appreciate the mothers and grandmothers that you have. Mary far exceeded her duties here a long time ago. She is now leading prayers and singing with the angel choir in heaven.
Friends and family may call at the Donaldson Funeral Home, Massena on Monday from 12-6:00 PM. In accordance with the current health restrictions her Funeral Mass will be held privately at St. Regis Catholic Church in Akwesasne. Services will be attendance controlled and those in attendance are asked to observe social distancing and use of facial coverings.
In lieu of fresh cut flowers arrangements, those wishing may consider donations of live plants, sweetgrass splint baskets or arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to Iakhihsotha Lodge or St. Regis Mission Church.