Mary G. Sealander, 88, social worker and teacher of disabled children

Sealander: Devoted life to kids.
Sealander: Devoted life to kids.
Posted: January 23, 2014

MARY G. Sealander spent her entire career taking care of children who really needed taking care of.

She worked with foster kids for the Pennsylvania Society to Protect Children from Cruelty in Philadelphia, and as an instructional aide working with learning-disabled children in the Haverford Township School District for 22 years.

With the child protective society, she often had to go into some disreputable city neighborhoods to find children who needed help. She sought to locate loving homes for those abandoned or abused.

She advised young women who planned to give up their babies for adoption, and evaluated foster homes to be sure they lived up to standards.

With the Haverford Township School District, she joined with teachers to help autistic children and those with other learning difficulties, some with inadequate home lives.

"She was very patient and caring," said her daughter, Julie Sealander Higgs. "Sometimes she brought the kids home. In later years, she might be in a store and one of her early charges would come up to her and tell her how grateful they were for what she had done for them."

Mary Sealander, a native Canadian, a loving family matriarch and active churchwoman, died in New York City of a brain hemorrhage Jan. 4. She was 88 and lived in Havertown.

"Mary was a pure and loving spirit with a strong faith and an eternally positive outlook," her family said. "She was a fundamentally kind, sweet person who was interested in everyone she met and made those around her feel the love of God."

Mary was born in Windsor, Ontario, to Stiriana and Eli Gates. She graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Windsor in 1942 and went on to Assumption College in Ontario, from which she graduated in 1946. She earned a master's degree in social work from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1961.

She was married to Edward C. Sealander for more than 50 years.

Mary was also active in community affairs in Delaware County. She was a member of the Lynnewood Park Civic Association and other community organizations. She was a devoted member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Havertown.

Besides her daughter, she is survived by a son, Gregory Sealander, and four grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1141 West Chester Pike, Havertown. Friends may call at 10 a.m.

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