Mary Ann's Story

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Mary Ann Solstad, 89, of Marblehead, passed away peacefully at her home on May 13, 2017, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Daughter of William and Elizabeth Lodge, she was born in San Diego, Calif. Mary Ann graduated from Pomona College and received her MS in Chemistry from Mt. Holyoke. While in graduate school, she met and fell madly in love with her husband, Oddvar Solstad, who had come to the U.S. from Norway to study after WWII. Their shared love for the ocean eventually brought them to Marblehead, where they raised their four children.
Mary Ann learned to sail in San Diego during WWII, skippering her 20-ft sailboat to many victories, including the prized Jessop Trophy. She was a member of Marblehead's Town Class sailing fleet for 45 years, and enjoyed sailing and racing with her family. Mary Ann was an avid scientist who never lost her curiosity for the natural world, exploring tidepools, and waking her children to view meteor showers, faint comets, or some of the first satellites. She loved traveling off the beaten path, taking interesting train or boat trips, and striking up conversations with the locals.
For over 50 years she was an active member of the American Chemical Society, speaking at conferences, chairing the Chemical Health and Safety Committee, and heading up the James Flack Norris Speaker's Bureau, which brought working chemists in to speak to middle school through college level classes. Mary Ann worked at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, Polaroid Corporation, and found her calling as a Certified Industrial Hygienist. Spurred by her own health issues related to toxic chemical exposure, she became a tireless advocate for more robust and comprehensive safety standards, especially in school chemistry labs and art studios. Her consulting firm, Solstad Health & Safety Evaluations, trained workers and helped small businesses comply with OSHA safety regulations.
Mary Ann was predeceased by her beloved husband of 61 years, Oddvar Solstad and her sister, Joy Wilkes Wadham. She leaves her children, Christina Solstad, Encinitas, Calif.; Karen Solstad and husband, Lars Johannessen, Amesbury; Rolf Solstad, Marblehead, her caretaker the past five years; Berit Solstad and husband, Rick Stevens, Stowe, Vt.; grandchildren, Anna Kristina (Kina) and Tor Johannessen, Amesbury. She leaves nieces and nephews in California, Colorado, Norway and Sweden.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation, http://www.alzinfo.org.
A memorial celebration will take place Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Marblehead, Mass., with reception following.
Published on May 19, 2017
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