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Mary Vail Boland

1924 - 2014, Santa Barbara

Mary Vail Boland passed away Saturday, January 4, 2014, at 8:13 A.M., surrounded by her family In Santa Barbara.

She was born on April 18, 1924, in Los Angeles, the daughter of Mary Bullock-Vail and Edward Newhall Vail. Her grand father Walter Vail had started a ranching empire when he bought a 160 acre homestead in Arizona in 1876 and expanded his land holdings to about a million acres at the time of his death in 1906. Mary’s maternal grandmother, Georgia Bullock, was the first woman to be appointed Judge Pro Tem of the Superior Court in Los Angeles in 1922. She made a name for herself when the bailiff announced for the first time in California, “Her Honor the Judge. Hats off.” Mary’s uncle, Wynn Bullock, was one of America’s greatest photographers of the 20th century

The Vail family owned and operated several ranches throughout the southern California area, including their ranch on Santa Rosa Island. Mary grew up on the Jesus Maria and the Jalama ranch and sometimes she would stay on the Santa Rosa Island ranch. Her father, who was a great horseman, introduced her to riding at a very young age. Their ranch horses were primarily thoroughbreds, a legacy of her grand father who had been one of the first to bring thoroughbreds to Arizona. Having virtually no playmates, her childhood was occupied by taking care of pets and horses. Her first horse was given to her by her father’s best friend, Will Rogers. As an adult, she became one of the most renowned trainers of hunters and jumpers here on the South Coast. Some people may remember her ranch and training facility in Carpinteria during the 60’s and 70’s. Mary also had a passion for the fine arts and nursing. She entered the medical field in the 70s as a licensed vocational nurse at Goleta Valley Hospital and served until her retirement in the 80s.

Mary was a very memorable individual whose robust personality never failed to make an impression on people who met her. She was known for her kindness to those in need and for her quick wit. With her death, a link to the old American West is gone. Keep her memory green.

The family thanks Dr. Joseph C. Peus, M.D. for keeping a spring in Mary’s step.

Mary is survived by her sister, Susan Vail Hoffman; daughters Diana Louise Cameron Graham, Mara Phillips Boland, Lisa Loch, and Diana Boland – Burt, and son Alan Edward Boland, along with 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Services will be held at the Oak Hill cemetery in Ballard, CA on February 15, 2014 at 2:00pm.

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