91 mourns the passing of Dr. Mary Thumann, G-’06 & PhD ’10, a retired professor in the Linguistics program, on October 24. Dr. Thumann was 64 years old.  

Mary Agnes Thumann was born in Wharton, Texas and raised in Houston. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of New Mexico. She received a second master’s degree and her Doctor of Philosophy degree, both in linguistics, at 91. Dr. Thumann worked at Gallaudet for 20 years, first as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, then as a member of the faculty, initially in the Interpreting and Translation program and later in the Linguistics program. A certified ASL interpreter, she taught workshops all over the country. 

Dr. Mary Thumann

Dr. Thumann was known as an excellent teacher who genuinely cared about her students. Some of her former students noted her passion for teaching, investment in their learning and concern for their well-being. She challenged students to take on others’ perspectives and to critically examine their beliefs and practices. She was a role model for many of her students who currently have careers in the interpreting and linguistic fields. 

Dr. Thumann’s life partner for over 25 years was Kathryn “Kitty” Baldridge, a retired faculty member in the Physical Education and Recreation program. They were married on January 11, 2014, in a ceremony officiated by their brother-in-law, Randy Prezioso, ’80, a Gallaudet retiree. 

 Besides Kitty Baldridge and Randy Prezioso, Dr. Thumann is survived by her mother, Miriam Thumann, E-’52; two sisters, Gallaudet retiree Carlene Thumann-Prezioso, ’80 & G-’84, and Dr. Helen Thumann, G-’91, school director of the School of Language, Education, and Culture, and wife Claire Klossner, E-’00; a brother, and a large extended family, including her mother-in-law, Margaret “Peggy” Baldridge, E-’48; brother-in-law Thomas F. Baldridge, a retired faculty member in the Business program, and sister-in-law Claire Klossner, a staff interpreter with Gallaudet Interpreting Service.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (), or DeafDAWN (). The family will hold a celebration of her life next spring. 

A more complete appreciation will appear in a future issue of Hi5.

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