Mary Lee Warren’s resume is lengthy.

So is her to-do list for retirement.

Warren, 67, retires after 23 years as executive director of Judith Karman Hospice on Wednesday.

After that, she can return full-time to hobbies such as pottery, history, reading, writing, gardening, dog training, travel and keeping up with her collections amassed from around the world.

“That’s another thing she’ll do when retired – she can dust all this stuff,” said her husband of 46 years, Tom Warren, laughing.

Warren has collections of art, Swaroski crystals and German glass ornaments among others throughout her home in southeast Stillwater where she lives with her husband and their two airedales, Gracie and Gretta.

She also plans to make a concerted effort to train the dogs not to use the window sills or patio furniture as chew toys.

Her already extensive travel will continue, primarily with her husband’s annual nine-week trips to Germany to teach technical writing classes.

“I’ve been to Paris twice but not to the Grand Canyon yet,” Warren said.

She hopes she’ll stay out of trouble.

Years ago, Warren was traveling with two friends in Sweden, and the trio stopped by the side of the road to have a picnic. They were soon surrounded by armed soldiers, she recalled. Her friend from Norway did his best to explain to the soldiers about the picnic and eventually they were allowed to leave in their rented car, armed military cars escorting them.

The trio had chosen a hollowed-out island used for hiding military ships for their picnic spot.

Originally from Princeton, Ind., Warren and her husband moved to Stillwater more than 30 years ago.

She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1982. She founded Stillwater Domestic Violence Services in 1978.

After working for Payne County Eldercare, the City of Stillwater and a Stillwater hotel, she settled into the executive director position at Judith Karman Hospice.

“It has enriched my life. When you work in a hospice for long, you learn what’s important. “It’s taught me there’s more in this life besides work, to appreciate friends and family more,” Warren said.

“She’s been more than just a boss. She’s been a teacher, mentor, friend and, at times, a mother,” said Lisa Smith, Warren’s successor at Judith Karmen Hospice.

One of Smith’s favorite memories is the day Warren changed her mind about parades.

“Everyone knows Mary Lee hates parades and picnics,” Smith said. The hospice was participating in the OSU Homecoming parade several years ago, and Warren began to feel guilty for not participating with her co-workers, Smith said.

Warren decided to march that day, and “she had the best time. She really enjoyed herself,” she said.

Starting in October, maybe Warren can begin to spend a little time on herself, after all these years of giving back to the community.

“I’m going to sleep late and read all I want to for a while.” she said. “Then I’ll look into some volunteer work.”

Or maybe not.

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