Mary Lanigan Healy; Columnist, Social Worker

Mary Lanigan Healy, a social worker who penned a weekly column for a Los Angeles Roman Catholic newspaper for 35 years, has died in Burbank. She was 81.

Under the banner of "Among Us," Mrs. Healy commented on family life and social issues for the Tidings, the official weekly paper for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Her column, which appeared from 1939 to 1974, dealt with a variety of topics ranging from the Vietnam War to immigration policies.

She died Sunday of heart failure following years of heart problems, said her daughter, Kate Saporito. Mrs. Healy was a longtime Burbank resident.

Born Mary Lanigan on Dec. 28, 1908, in Tucumcari, N. M., she attended the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minn., for three years before moving to California with her family in 1929. The following year, she graduated from USC with a bachelor's degree in sociology and in 1932 earned a master's degree in social work from USC.

For the next few years, she worked at a community center in Watts, where she organized dances, classes and legal aid for residents.

She wrote World War II serials, columns and poetry for Catholic family magazines. In 1957, a collection of her columns from the Tidings was published in a book called "Spots and Wrinkles."

After raising nine children, Mrs. Healy went to work during the late 1960s as a social worker at the Good Shepherd Convent, then a facility for young female offenders in Los Angeles. She also continued to write professionally until the mid-1980s. Some of her columns appeared in the Los Angeles Times during the 1970s.

She is survived by her sons, Jim Healy of Riverside, Bill Healy of Glendale, Martin Healy of Corrales, N. M., and Matthew Healy of Venice; daughters, Mary Ann Healy of Burbank, Frances Pyne of Pittsburg, Calif., Kate Saporito of Glendale and Brigid Graham of Bellevue, Wash.; a sister, Catherine Slattery of Sparks, Nev.; 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Another son, Tim Healy of Anaheim, died July 2 of cancer.

A Mass is scheduled to be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. today at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 133 N. 5th St., Burbank. Burial will follow at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills. Arrangements were made by Woods Glendale Mortuary. Donations can be made in Mrs. Healy's name to the American Cancer Society, San Fernando Valley unit.

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