Music 04

Mary Elizabeth (Thomas) Bourn

1943 ~ 2021 (age 77)

Obituary Image


Mary Elizabeth (Thomas) Bourn

December 17, 1943 - November 8, 2021

Mary Bourn died suddenly November 8 at her home in Noel, MO, with her loving partner, John Atkins, at her side.  Mary was born in Minneapolis, MN, to David and Winifred Thomas, who moved to West St. Paul when Mary was seven. There Mary grew up with 3 younger siblings, riding her horse often (even to school once!), and was crowned Miss West St Paul in 1962. She attended the University of Minnesota, and received her degree in Music Education from Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley, CO. Mary married her high school sweetheart, Ken Bourn, in 1964.  After graduation she taught music in schools in Winnetka, IL, while Ken was stationed with the Army nearby. The two soon moved back to the Twin Cities where their three children were born and raised. She taught music full time and many subjects as a substitute teacher, ran a home day care, drove school bus, led the church children’s choir, groomed dogs and cats, drove as a forest fire support driver, and gave private music lessons.  Since her divorce from Ken, Mary has lived in West St. Paul and Aitkin, MN; Reserve, NM; and Noel, MO. Her partner, John, has been her companion since they met in 1987 when they taught motorcycle safety together, and they shared many travels, adventures, and good times since.  Throughout her adult life, she spent a lot of time riding motorcycles- finding the best curvy roads, scenery, switchbacks, covered bridges, etc.  Mary never held back from going after her dreams and goals.  When an opportunity presented itself- she was ready.  In addition to her many occupations and hobbies- she was an entrepreneur.  Most of her time grooming dogs was in her own businesses.  She recently started a business, “Let the Music Out,” in order to find additional avenues to help people of all ages find a voice through music.  She organized community music activities, was part of many different choirs and music groups, and attended countless music festivals through the years.  Mary very much enjoyed all kinds of local music activities in the southwest Missouri/four-state area.  She joined in with the Old Town String Band and created the Redbird Dulcimer Club.  She also enjoyed participating in parades with her electric Fiat “HUM BEE”.  She was known to many as “Ms B.” “Ms Bee” “Mary B” or “Merry B”.   Besides John, Mary is survived by her children Bryan Bourn, Jordan, MN; Bradley Bourn, Billings, MT; and Barbara Bauer-Chen (John Chen), Menomonie, WI; and five grandchildren: Amrin Bourn, Danielle Bauer, Sarah Bauer, and Cody and Jamison Chen. She is also survived by her siblings Ruth Herring, Barbara Rakstad, and William Thomas.

Services will be graveside, Butler Creek Cemetery, 20385 State Line Rd, Sulphur Springs, AR at 1pm, 26 November.

In lieu of flowers, you may wish to donate to Save the Music Foundation.  Mary was always a huge promotor of music’s positive impact on everyone- especially kids!

Mary will be greatly missed by all.

“Where words leave off, music begins.” - Heinrich Heine

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Elizabeth (Thomas) Bourn, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Mary Elizabeth (Thomas) Bourn
© 2021 Sorensen-Root-Thompson Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy