On Friday, June 14th, 2019, the world lost the most amazing person. Mary Leisses was not only an educator, audiologist, leader and mentor to so many, she was also a mom, daughter, sister and the greatest friend on this earth. Mary battled breast cancer for many years, but she never wanted us to say she lost her battle with cancer, because cancer did not define her. So, we say, Mary completed her life’s journey and died surrounded by peace and love.
Mary was born December 20th, 1964 in Beaver Dam, Wis. She attended Catholic grade schools growing up, which explains her Rabid Nun persona and the need to have wooden rulers in her desk. She graduated from Beaver Dam High School and then went on to earn her B.S. in Communicative Disorders from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and M.S. in Audiology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Mary’s greatest achievement in a life of many honors for intelligence, commitment and wit, was her daughter Elain. Every presentation started out with a current picture of Elain, and Elain was often in attendance at Mary’s presentations. Mary’s most important role in life was being Elain’s mom.
Mary has been a powerhouse in the hearing aid industry, wearing many hats–among them Customer Service, R&D, Product Management and Education & Training. She worked at several manufacturers over the decades and spent the last 13 years with Starkey Hearing Technologies.
Mary is survived by her daughter Elain Schmidt, ex-husband Chuck Schmidt, best friend Lois Benson, and an enormous list of friends who she considered to be her family.
Mary, fly high our dear friend, you will be dearly missed.
The Hearing Review thanks Starkey’s Lois Benson who provided this tribute upon request and to David Fabry for his assistance.