Mary Van Buren, distinguished University graduate and longtime benefactor, mourned by UA


The University of Akron extends profound condolence to the Van Buren Family in the recent loss of their matriarch, Mary Van Buren, a distinguished University graduate, friend, and community visionary. Mrs. Van Buren, who lived a life of commitment and devotion to family and causes she held dear, passed away September 13.

Mrs. Van Buren was a woman of high accomplishment — graduating from The University of Akron during the Great Depression and later earning a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. Education and the nurturing and rearing of her children were among Mrs. Van Buren’s strongest passions. A caring schoolteacher, she left the profession after the birth of her first child, becoming her children’s first and most dedicated educator. However, her commitment to education for others continued to shine through. She held the belief that education was the great equalizer, opening doors of opportunity to committed students.

Along with her late husband, Dr. George Van Buren, Mrs. Van Buren built a legacy of compassion and sharing at The University of Akron, supporting the University through giving for more than 50 years. The couple established four scholarship awards, providing wide-ranging scholarship assistance to deserving students. The scholarships include The Van Buren Akron Public High School Scholarship, The Van Buren NEOUCOM Scholarship (now known as Northeast Ohio Medical University), The Van Buren Medical School Scholarship, and The Mary Van Buren Scholarship, for students earning degrees in education.

Mrs. Van Buren was preceded in death by her husband, who passed away in July 2012. In addition to loving friends and acquaintances, Mrs. Van Buren is survived by two daughters, Mary Beth Kerek and Susan Van Buren; three sons Drs. Charles (Faye), George (Christine), and David (Denise) Van Buren; 15 grandchildren (Chuck, George, Peter, Mike, Elizabeth, Thomas, Andrew, David, James, Mary and Jenny Van Buren; Mary Pence, Will and David Kerek, and Suzie Pruitt); and five great-grandchildren (Emily, Katie, Cameron, Ben, and Caroline).