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Metro Crash Victim: Mary Doolittle

Mary Doolittle was among the casualties in yesterday's Metro accident. If you knew Doolittle, we'd love to hear your anecdotes and memories in this space.

The entry date of this post does not reflect when it was written. It was written Tuesday, June 23.

By Adam Bernstein |  June 17, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Previous: Metro Crash Victim: Dennis Hawkins | Next: Metro Crash Victim: Ana Fernandez


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Mandy was one of my closest friends--for over 40 years. She worked for the American Nurses' Association, and was also an artist, a potter, a devoted friend, sister, and auntie to many. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Posted by: bburris18 | June 23, 2009 7:01 PM

Our lives were truly enriched by knowing Mandy. She was the most uplifting person who always made you feel the goodness of life. We will sorely miss her--cannot even imagine life without her. Her many gifts will stay in our hearts forever. A wonderful friend and caring person to all who knew her. Thanks Mandy for touching our lives. Luanne and Trudy

Posted by: acmjp | June 23, 2009 8:47 PM

When my son was two days old, he made his debut in the world at a garden party a cousin of ours had thrown. Mandy was there, as always. My wife still remembers the smile on Mandy's face as she held him that afternoon. Ten years later, to the day, Mandy lost her life. That smile, and the love she showed our children, will stay with us.

Posted by: ncabot | June 23, 2009 9:46 PM

Mandy will be missed forever. Her way of listening intently to every word you were saying made you feel like the most important person she had ever met. Her precious friendship is one that will take a lifetime to replace.
Our thoughts and love are with her partner, Carol Anne. May she know that Mandy's love and ours will be with her forever.
Sue and Judith

Posted by: sue_lenaerts | June 24, 2009 8:28 AM

I didn't know Ms. Doolittle; but my heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ms. Doolittle and the other victims of the Metro accident. May God strengthen all of you during these difficult days, weeks and years ahead.

Posted by: pndrvs4Obama | June 24, 2009 10:47 AM

I, too, am a friend since 9th grade. We had planned to do something special together for our 60th and thankfully had spent part of last summer with Mandy and Carol Anne in Colorado. I live in Texas. She released the "silly" in me. We would talk for hours; the last time was at a tiny table and chairs at the childrens section of Barnes and Noble in Dallas. My love to Carol Anne and all of her dear friends and family. Beth

Posted by: beld | June 24, 2009 11:10 AM

I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Mandy, but I've known her partner, Carol Anne, for decades. My heart goes out to Carol Anne and to all of Mandy's friends and loved ones. From all I'm reading and hearing, Mandy was widely loved and respected. We've all lost a wonderful influence and a good friend. With affection, Sidney

Posted by: jsoliver | June 24, 2009 11:38 AM

Mandy and I met when we were both working at Kansas State University. We had so much fun in so many ways. She knew how to laugh, and made it happen.

Mandy Doolittle was present to my presence. She was a spot of grace in a world with few. Her genuine southern hospitality was immediately felt upon meeting her. Such generosity of spirit was she, extended in myriad ways. She loved nature, birds, art, and playing. Oh, she worked hard with diligence and commitment, I know, but it was having her own time, and playing, that she embraced. She often spoke about the oppressiveness of the work culture in the US. We used to talk about how what many cultures call "living", the US calls "lazy."

When she moved to Washington, DC, I drove with her. Stopping at a convenience store, I bought a tape (remember those?) of Juice Newton to keep me awake when I drove. Mandy listened to it for 30 seconds before putting a stop to "the Juice", as she called it. We laughed about it for years.

Her planned trip this summer, with her dear partner of 15 years, Carol Ann, was to the Northwest, not to Italy. I commend Carol Ann's courage these last few days. It is courage infused with love. Carol Ann, you inspire me deeply as you are 24/7 dealing with details in the face of tragedy. Thanks Sister.

Just two days before she passed, Mandy and I were on the phone, discussing the details of their upcoming visit. She was looking forward to seeing the new Maya Lin installations here in Oregon. I'm still stunned that I'll be traveling to Washington to memorialize Mandy, instead of meeting her here in Portland later this summer.

Where has she gone? What's she doing? I imagine her smiling upon us, and especially her dear Carol Ann, as she makes her way to a beloved spot to watch birds or perhaps become one.

When I told my memory impaired 91 y/o mother about Mandy's death, she immediately said the Catholic prayer for the dead, in German. "Eternal rest grant unto her oh Lord, and may your light shine upon her." I sit with the Quakers. I hold our sweet, gracious, smart and generous Mandy, and all us, everyone, in the light. I don't know if my mom's God's light, and my Quaker light are the same, but I know that Mandy knows the answer now, and that she is at peace. May we all find a glimmer of that peace as we touch the grace that she was, and is, in our lives.

Marlene Howell, Portland Oregon

Posted by: mhowell2 | June 24, 2009 12:13 PM

I live in Mary’s building in Woodley Park and met her many times in building. She always had a great smile and cheery personality for everybody. When we first met, we discovered that we both worked out in Silver Spring, MD and that we took the metro to and from work. We would laugh when we would meet each other occasionally in downtown Silver Spring during lunchtime or coming from the metro. We laughed how there weren’t many Washingtonians who took our counter-commute. Although, I didn’t know Mary very well, I always found her very friendly and heart-warming.
With Deepest Sympathies, Martin

Posted by: martin2701 | June 24, 2009 1:00 PM

Mandy was a student at Rice University when I was there. She, Paula Noelke, Efraim Escobedo and I rafted one summer day through Santa Elena Canyon in the Big Bend. She was a delight to be with on that trip and she excelled at rowing, portaging around a rock slide in the river and navigating through the rapids. It was a memorable day and my condolences go out to all who knew her.

Posted by: winklma2 | June 24, 2009 1:53 PM

Mandy was a joy. She laughed frequently and took a genuine interest in those around her, frequently asking me about things she saw hanging up in my cubicle. Her presence in the office will be sorely missed, and my thoughts and prayers go out to her numerous friends and family.

Posted by: BurgBarbL | June 24, 2009 2:51 PM

What a loss to ANCC and to international nursing! Mandy was the face and voice many nurses from other countries knew when they had questions about connecting with the various programs the American Nurses Credentialing Center provided in other countries. Her attitude of how she could help and what else was needed and her absolute cultural sensitivity with those she engaged with was incredible. Those of us who had the opportunity to work with her are saddened by our loss. Those of you who were friends and family suffer the bigger loss. She is in our thoughts and prayers, and so are you. May her spirit endure!

Posted by: psywrn | June 24, 2009 2:53 PM

I live in Mary's building in Woodley Park and she also had the same commute to Silver Spring as my husband. While we did'nt know her super well, when I did run into her in the laundry room or in the front hall of the building, she was always ready with a smile and a warm greeting. We both have lived in the building for several years and it was always a comfort to see her and exchange pleasantries.Her warms smile will be missed in the hallways of our building. Our deepest sympathies to Carol Ann and Mary's extended family.

Posted by: jdelaney1 | June 24, 2009 3:05 PM

Our family spent every Thanksgiving with Mandy and her partner at the home of our mutual friends. She was a warm, vibrant person -- genuinely excited about the annual talent show and all the kids' other doings. We're grateful to have had her as an extended family member. All our wishes for strength and peace go out to Carol Anne.

Posted by: michele7 | June 24, 2009 3:06 PM

Mandy was my wife's Godmother and knowing her was truly a blessing for our family.

She was hands down the most exuberant and positive person I've ever had the pleasure to know.

I'll always smile when I remember Mandy.

Much love and condolences to Carol Ann, I cannot fathom the magnitude of your loss at this awful time.

Posted by: NateWilcox | June 24, 2009 3:40 PM

On behalf of nursing professionals who work with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, I extend my sympathy to Ms. Doolittle's family, friends and co-workers. She clearly used her talets to make a difference for nurses, healthcare and patients. May God comfort you all during this time of sorrow.
Diane Raines, CNO, Baptist Health, Jacksonville Florida

Posted by: dianeraines | June 24, 2009 6:06 PM

Mandy was the kind of person who made you feel the world is a wonderful place. She looked for the best in people and she always found it. She was also one of the most authentic and nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work and laugh with. My deepest sympathies to those who have lost her from their lives

Posted by: ReBd | June 24, 2009 6:13 PM

The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Australia mourns the loss of a very inspiring, gentle and warm lady who we have had the pleasure to know and become so found of. Mandy will be a tremendous loss so wide throughout the international nursing community as her effervescent personality has touched so many of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family who will endure the greatest of pain. Our thoughts are also with Mandy’s ANCC colleagues whom have had the opportunity to work with an exceptional person who will never be forgotten.

Posted by: Sandra_Moss | June 24, 2009 7:15 PM

I am heartbroken over the death of Mandy Doolittle. I was privileged to work with her over the past 9 years and to feel the warmth, love and enthusiasm that flowed from her in every interaction. Rarely does one encounter the positive, friendly, and loving attitude that she demonstrated to all. She was truly a special person who made the most of each day and gave so much to others. All who loved her are saddened by her loss but better for having known her.

Posted by: spengle | June 24, 2009 9:55 PM

It is a very sad day here in Perth Western Australia. We met Mandy during our Magnet Journey and attribute part of our success in gaining Magnet Status for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to the wonderful support and encouragement we received from Mandy. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Mandy at the Magnet Conference in 2008 and was inspired by her enthusiasm for the program and her love of life. My personal condolences go to her family and friends. Our thoughts are with the ANCC family at this time also.

Posted by: TanyaBasile | June 24, 2009 10:15 PM

Mandy and I became friends at college in Houston and in the summer of 1970 we took a nine week trip to Europe together. Whenever we met we reminisced about this trip as one of the absolute highlights of our lives. Mandy loved the fine arts (and beautiful crafts and folk art) more than anyone I've ever known, and we were in paradise as we visited some of the greatest museums in the world day after day. We met a young Swedish traveler in Rome and he convinced us and another American - a graduate student in classics - that sneaking into the Roman forum to enjoy its sights by the light of the full moon was a good idea. We bought a rope in the flea market and looped it around a metal fence and lowered ourselves into the forum where we wandered for hours as the classics student regaled us with details about what we were seeing. Today this stunt would probably be punished with deportation, but when we met a friendly guard at dawn he just tsk-tsked a little and sent us on our way.

Mandy had such a zest for living, and she found a beloved partner for her travels and adventures in Carol Ann. Her spirit remained fresh and youthful and open always, and she followed her heart into many wonderful places. When we see a great painting, or hear a wild giggly laugh, we'll remember Mandy and the twinkle in those bright blue eyes. Condolences to all who knew and loved her.

Posted by: larktom | June 24, 2009 10:56 PM




Posted by: | June 25, 2009 2:46 AM

Mandy Doolittle worked so closely with so many members of the nursing community. Her work with colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital was approached with knowledge and caring. We all remember Mandy as a wonderful nurse and human being with a spirit that made one smile. Our cherished colleagues at ANCC will miss her and so will we all. Her dedication to advancing nursing internationally and thereby advancing nursing across the world will not be forgotten. Her legacy will live on in exceptional nursing care.

Posted by: jiveserickson | June 25, 2009 7:25 AM

A long-time family friend, Mandy greeted us with open arms when we relocated to DC a few years ago. We shared her passion for art and spent wonderful afternoons together at the National Gallery. Mandy was delightful company, kind and generous. She cared about other people and showed that with many considerate acts as well as sincere expressions of appreciation. Her exuberance, familial good cheer and Texan love of a good time were always welcome in our lives. We will miss Mandy very much.

Posted by: Austinite2 | June 25, 2009 9:06 AM

Mandy was an incredibly warm and vibrant person whose passion for Magnet enriched my life, and many others. I will miss her. It is striking from reading these posts how much she gave to all of us, whether we were fortunate enough to know her for years, or whether like myself we knew her as a work colleague, meeting occasionally with a hug and that great big smile.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and her family and friends.

Posted by: jcmhs | June 25, 2009 10:24 AM

Mandy was one of my favorite co-workers at ANA/ANCC and I'm sure her untimely departure from this world will be felt far beyond the walls of 8515 Georgia Ave. I don't know that I ever saw Mandy without a smile on her face, and I found her to be one of easiest and most pleasant people to work with. We had special nicknames for each other—Mandy Lou and Scott Bob—and I have many fond memories of her. I wish more people could have been more like her, in many ways. She was the personification of George Bailey—her life touched so many others in so many ways—and we'll probably be still discovering just how in the years to come. May God hold her in His bosom.

Posted by: novascott1 | June 25, 2009 10:37 AM

My first posting was really just trying to give the Washington Post some basic info about Mandy (like where she worked, so I will take the liberty of posting again in a more personal vein. All of these wonderful posts have been balm for my soul as I try to come to terms with a world without Mandy.
Mandy and I met in 1967 at Rice University, when the "times they were a-changin'" and we were, too. We have kept up with each other over the years, more so in some periods than others,enjoying some of the world's great cities together (Rome, NYC, Boston, DC, Albuquerque--admittedly I may be biased in including the last). After my daughter was born in 1989, Mandy became a surrogate auntie to her, and they were close. Mandy was like a sister to me. My daughter (now 19) wrote on her Facebook page about Mandy's death, saying "she was like a second mother to me...the sweetest person, and this shouldn't have happened to her." Well, it shouldn't have happened to anyone,but that is another story.
I look forward to meeting more of Mandy's many friends and co-workers, people that I have heard Mandy speak of for years, at her memorial service. Mandy truly had a genius for friendship. May her spirit live on in us.

Posted by: bburris18 | June 25, 2009 12:29 PM

Words cannot begin to describe the terrible sadness I feel over the death of my friend and former co-worker Mandy Doolittle. Mandy was a gentle and kindred spirit, a lover of life and of people from all walks of life.

Mandy and I first met at the American Nurses Association’s previous office headquarters at L’Enfant Plaza. She worked down the hall from me, and I used to stop by her office often. We also would go to the National Gallery of Art together on our lunch hour sometimes. We had a lot in common, including conservation, nature, fine art, landscape photography and, especially, a love of Italy. In fact, Mandy lived in Italy for a year or two when she was very young, and she kept encouraging me to make a similar move a few years ago – a step I hope yet to have the courage to take someday.

Through previous posts to this testimony section, I learned that Mandy had been planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit friends, and I am sorry not to be able to share with her photos and a recount of the flora and fauna I encountered while touring the Olympic National Forest recently – because she was one of the few people I know who could truly relate to that sort of thing. (And I know she would be “ooohing” and “aaahing” with excitement over all those seemingly endless, not to mention endlessly-boring-to-most-people, moss-and-fern rainforest shots.)

I was not able to sleep at all the night of the metro crash, in part because I used to take that line to and from work, and I was so worried about all the former fellow ANA co-workers who I thought might be on the inbound train at that hour. In fact, I was so concerned that I called a friend at ANA the next morning, “to make sure everyone was okay,” I said, and my friend responded by saying no, that Mandy had died, and that another former co-worker had been injured.

I was in shock and still am.

I know I for one will miss Mandy terribly, in part because I have been hit with the awful realization that the time has run out for her and I to “catch up with each other,” something we all typically take for granted in our busy daily lives. But Mandy’s untimely death also has taught me an important lesson: That the time to enjoy life with friends and family members is NOW -- not tomorrow, next week or next year.

I also am sad to learn that Mandy and Carol Ann apparently did not get to return to her beloved Italy together, as they had planned.

I do hope, though, that Carol Ann will still go to Italy, and that she will be able to experience, appreciate and relive a little of what made that place so very special for her partner. And I know that if and when I go back there, too, that I hope to do the same – for Mandy.

Cindy, Capitol Hill

Posted by: cydprice | June 25, 2009 3:28 PM

I am shocked and deeply saddened by the death of my dear friend and former colleague, Mandy Dolittle. As noted in other posts, she was an upbeat, funny, and charming friend strongly committed to her work and to the arts. I first met her while she was at Kansas State University and she later became the Rural Arts Circuit Rider for my agency (KS Arts Commission). She put her heart into her job and was very successful. We both left Kansas about the same time, but before we left, we hiked across the Konza Prairie (near K-State) on one frosty December morning. For years she had a photo taken that day on her fridge in DC and I had one on my fridge in Indianapolis -- it had been a magical day. I have been fortunate to have had her friendship for nearly 20 years and will miss her greatly. My heart goes out to Carol Anne and Mandy's brother in Texas. Dorothy Ilgen

Posted by: dotilgen | June 25, 2009 9:03 PM

It is so very sad that Mandy has been taken from us in such an unexpected and violent way. She was a joy to know- the smiles, the giggles, the open and joyous nature. She was a trusted and respected colleague- the epitome of excellence- in character and profession. Mandy worked with us at Mount Sinai, NYC, in several international endeavors. The delegation of Finnish nurses who came to the Medical Center were guided here by Mandy who designed the plan that gave us all so much pleasure. When I served on the ANCC Board and the Governing Council. I was the beneficiary of her knowledge,support and grace. My sincere condolences to her partner, Carol Ann and the family. I celebrate her gracious spirit and remember a wonderful life.
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight"

Posted by: patbmuRN | June 25, 2009 9:40 PM

Hi Karen (Drenkard)-Director of Magnet Program

I read this e-mail from you and just felt so sad. When the accident happened, I kept thinking--is there anyone I know on those trains? And then I got your note. I of course did not know this person, Mary Doolittle, but see that she was a vital person who will be missed. Please extend my condolences to your staff.

With compassion,

Nancy M. Valentine, RN, PhD, MPH, FAAN, FNAP
Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Main Line Health
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Posted by: valentinen | June 26, 2009 6:09 PM

My heart and my thoughts go out to the friends, family and co-workers of Mandy Doolittle.
Mandy was a treasure for anyone who knew her. She embodied joy. I had the pleasure of knowing her through support of international Magnet applicants. In each encounter with her, you could see how much she loved her work and valued every individual. She was an inspiration to many of us who work on behalf of nursing excellence. It was great to share stories and ideas with her about how to foster this work.. but on a personal level.. I loved sharing a moment or two with her to talk about the outdoors and some recent trip to the forest or to the beach.
Mandy lit up a room with her smile. We will all cherish the time we had with her. We will all miss her.

Posted by: cbroombosley | June 27, 2009 11:24 AM

Please know that Mandy's union brothers and sisters have her in our thoughts and her loved ones in our prayers.

Posted by: Lori310 | June 29, 2009 11:11 AM

I remember when Carol Anne first met Mandy, and the uplift that was visible in her voice when she told us about the wonderful woman she was seeing. Sometime later, I met Mandy, just twice, when a group of us went out to dinner together in Adams Morgan. It was a joy to be near two people so happy with each other, and I thank them sharing the light, so to speak. That shared happiness was a great gift, and Carol Anne, I am so sorry for your loss. xx Joanne.

Posted by: JoanneStato | June 29, 2009 11:55 AM

Mandy and I met a few years ago at a local Unitarian Universalist church. Like alot of the other people, I responded to her infectious enthusiasm for life, her frankness, and sense of humor. After she left the congregation to make more time for artistic endeavors, we kept in touch with bi-annual dinners in Woodley Park. In March we met at a local Afgan restaurant that I suggested and she so appreciated being introduced to a new place to eat. She was, as always, fun to talk to, a fabulous listener, and it seemed we got to know each other a little better. She was so looking forward to the trip our West with Carol Anne this summer. She graced our lives with her goodness and her shiny presence will continue to bless us every starry night.

Posted by: nelsonnancyj | June 30, 2009 12:56 PM

We had the privilege of meeting Mandy in October 2006 when our hospital allowed us to go to the 10th Magnet Conference in Denver Colorado.

Mandy was an incredible lady. She had such wonderful spirit and welcomed us with open arms into the Magnet community and international friendships. She had such a warm laugh and ready smile, and always showed such positiveness to the world around her.
She gave us a little gift of a map of the world to hang on the Christmas tree. It was such a special gift because it described her ability to talk and be inclusive with so many around the world. She was an incredible link with Magnet and all the international nurses who were on the Magnet Journey.

We can only imagine the sadness at her loss in her home and within her family, friends and colleagues. In Australia we wept tears when we heard the sad news of her loss.

We know that God will have opened his arms to Mandy to welcome her home, just like she has done to so many across the world. May you rest in peace Mandy.

Fondest thoughts from Jenny, Julie and Ann-Marie
3 Nurses (and Magnet Champions) from Princess Alexandra Hospital

Posted by: juliefinooks | June 30, 2009 8:01 PM

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