Mary Galligan Cornett
Class of 2007
While attending college Mary began working for the city of Omaha as a billing clerk. In 1961 Mary was appointed City Clerk of Omaha. Very few women worked outside the home at that time and Mary was one of the first to show women they could take their aprons off.
She was city clerk for 46 years retiring in 1997 after 53 years of city employment. Mary worked with 13 different Omaha mayors over the years and countless city council members.
Mary always said her greatest professional accomplishment was "keeping the best possible most accurate records that I can keep. Being able to find things. That's very important for a city - that its records are accurate."
She was always ready with answers to any problem. I know because she was a friend of mine whom I loved very much. She was always unassuming unless it involved her daughter Abbie who was her pride and joy. Abbie was an Omaha police officer for 10 years before being elected Nebraska state senator for District 45 in Bellevue.
My own daughter (Logan Watson) attends North High and will be graduating with the class of 2009. We were surprised to find that Mary Galligan Cornett was a very important person who hasn't been memorialized at North High and we were wondering why? Was she so unassuming that the school didn't realize she had come from it halls?
At any rate Mary passed away July 28th. We attended her funeral at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral on August 1st. In attendence were Mayor Fahey and several past mayors along with many city council members past and present. Many state senators and other high ranking city, county and state dignitaries were also there along with those of us who knew Mary purely on a personal level.
Since 1997 there has been a scholarship fund for public administration in Mary's name at UNO. It is called the "Mary Cornett Scholarship for Public Administration". Funds were solicited for this scholarship during Mary's funeral, visitation and wake. I think she would be please if someone at North High (especially a young lady) were to apply for this scholarship. She was particularly fond of women taking their place in all forms of government.
Finally I will say Mary and I loved to watch old movies. One of our favorites was Auntie Mame. We both felt we most embodied the line from the movie "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." Get out there and live girls.
Kerry D. Queen
4808 Fontenelle Blvd
Omaha, NE 68111
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