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Cherna, Mary B November 2, 1993 - December 16, 2020

Mary Barksdale Cherna, 27, died at her home in Denver, Colorado on December 16. The daughter of Courtney Warrick and Andrew Rankin Cherna of Manhattan, Mary is survived by her brother, Andrew Rankin Cherna of Davis, California; her sister, Regan Warrick Cherna of New York City; and her grandmothers, Anne Rankin Kline of Cleveland, Ohio and Janet Anderson Warrick of  Ann Arbor, MI. She was predeceased by her grandfathers, Woodward A Warrick Jr. and Andrew K. Cherna; as well as an aunt, Cecily Barksdale Warrick.

A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Mary attended the Bronxville School before graduating from Deerfield Academy, a school that meant the world to her because of the friendships she formed there with both faculty and students.

Beloved for her wry sense of humor, loyal support of friends, and unwavering determination, Mary was an avid reader, writer, and athlete, who loved to ski and spent a season working at  Stratton resort in Vermont and another at HF Bar Ranch in Saddle String, Wyoming.  A passionate animal advocate who supported animal rights organizations, one of her life’s goals was to visit the elephant preserve in Chang Mai, Thailand, which she did before her 21st birthday. “I even went inside a cage with a tiger!” she told her family after the trip.

While at Trinity, Mary spent a semester in Prague where she studied European history. A good student and thoughtful friend, Mary was poised to enter a life full of potential when she began her long and courageous battle against the disease of addiction. With each hard-won recovery she expressed gratitude for the promise of a fresh start. The family wishes to thank the many friends who never stopped loving and supporting Mary through her difficult journey.

A private memorial service will be held on December 24 at Christ Church Bronxville. Those who wish may leave the family condolences at www.mcgrathandson.com

Memorial contributions in honor of Mary may be made to Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 306, Deerfield, MA 01342.

A Private Family Memorial Service will be held on December 24, 2020 at Christ Church Bronxville

In Lieu of Flowers: Contributions in Mary's honor may be made to Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 306, Deerfield, MA 01342.


  1. REPLY
    Charlotte O'Halloran says

    Courtney, Andy, Andrew, and Regan,

    The news of Mary’s passing is heartbreaking. Mary was truly remarkable in every way: intelligent, witty, athletic, charismatic, beautiful, and above all, kind and genuine. When your family moved from Bronxville shortly after ours, Mary was Deirdre’s comfort and solace, her first and best friend in our small town and Deirdre wouldn’t be the person she is today without Mary. As Deirdre’s older sister, I spent so much time with Mary, as you all did with Deirdre. Our family grew to treasure our time with her as if she was another family member – I’m pretty sure she taught most of our family how to play tennis, and I will never forget the very strong case she made for taking her and Deirdre to the Twilight movie 6 times in one month (when they were freshmen in high school). Mary was a light in our lives, full of love and humor and a fiercely loyal and compassionate friend to Deirdre.

    You raised a truly one of a kind daughter and sister. I will always remember Mary and Deirdre in their matching Burberry coats and headbands. We loved Mary so much and send our deepest condolences and prayers.

    Charlotte O’Halloran

    • REPLY
      Lisa Sorensen says

      Courtney I am holding you and your family in my heart and prayers.

      Love Lisa Sorensen

  2. REPLY
    Coray O’Halloran says

    To the Cherna family,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter and sister, Mary.

    Mary was a kind and loving girl. I have countless memories of Deirdre and Mary in our Bronxville kitchen talking with my mother after school, discussing politics at the age of only 9 with their dear friend Chris Colivita, beating my father (a former all-American athlete) in tennis matches, and fine tuning a talent show dance to “jerk it out” in Deirdre’s corner bedroom. She took Deirdre by the hand when she was very lonely in Bronxville. And for that my family will always be incredibly grateful for Mary’s kind heart.

    There are many memories with Mary that I will cherish deeply. But these I hope that these little moments that I’ve written to you about Mary provide you with more memories of what an exceptional person she was: warm, intelligent, athletic, and incredibly fun-loving.

    Sending thoughts of comfort and prayers to your family.

    With love,

    Coray O’Halloran

  3. REPLY
    Ellen Peter says

    You were always a child of the light to me
    Now you can dance freely in the waves again

  4. REPLY
    Kiki Smith says

    I’m so very sorry to hear about Mary’s death. The Smith family has such fond memories of her when she was a little girl in Lake Forest. She and Beatrice were swim team pals, shared many birthday parties, horseback riding lessons and Winter Club fun. I can still see them riding bikes all over Lake Forest I remember the Chernas and Smiths spending several Christmases at the University Club, followed by the Chicago symphony to hear Christmas carols. Mary and Bea were always full of laughter during those outings. . I will always think of Mary as a happy, funny little soul. I hope your happy memories of Mary sustain you through your grief. She was a lucky girl to have a family of such high quality to support her.
    Love, Kiki , Hilary, Duncan, Lydia and Beatrice

  5. REPLY
    Christopher Colavita says


    I don’t know where to begin. You meant so much to me for so many years and brought me so much happiness. You were such a special person, and you always did and always will hold a special place in my heart. You were an incredible friend and a joy to be around. You were beautiful, smart, and above all else, funny and kind. Irreplaceable. There will never be anyone else like you.

    I’ll treasure every single one of the overwhelmingly countless memories, laughter, photos, mischief, 3 hour phone calls, long talks on your back portch, and the “I miss you” or “Love you” text messages and Facebook wall posts we shared during both our formative and later years, through which our friendship always endured because of the type of friend you were. I will draw on them for strength and solace as I face life’s challenges without a light I so cherished.

    I can say that the man I am today is in part because of our friendship, and I am eternally grateful. I will always love you. Thank you for everything.

    Your friend,


  6. REPLY
    Liz Warnock says

    I loved Mary! What a wonderful & beautiful spirit she was…
    We will all miss her terribly. I feel blessed to have had her in my life. I’m praying she is now at peace. My deepest sympathies to Courtney, Andy, Andrew & Regan.

  7. REPLY
    Kim Carpenter says

    Courtney and Andy –
    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all right now. Mary was such a part of Caroline’s early life at Twin Lakes – riding, playing, showing; not to mention sleepovers and playing with Breezy and Rupert. She was a truly loving and special person. Her memory will be held dear by those who knew her. Kim and Peter Carpenter

  8. REPLY
    Amy O'Halloran says

    Andy, Courtney, Regan, and Andrew:

    I am so sorry to hear about Mary. Mary was such a loving and charismatic young girl; she truly had a kind and beautiful soul. I will always have such fond memories of Mary, particularly her close friendship with Deirdre. Being seven years older than Deirdre and Mary, I always loved driving them around and spending time with them. Whether it was getting lunch at Lange’s Deli or taking them to Siwanoy pool or the Field Club, Mary was always such a joy to be around. She had the best personality. She always brought a smile to my face and made me laugh.

    Mary truly brought out the best in Deirdre, especially when we first moved to Bronxville and Deirdre had a difficult time adjusting. She was the most loyal and compassionate friend and felt like a 4th sister to us. My family is incredibly blessed to have had Mary in our lives.

    As I look back at pictures from my wedding in 2012, I am reminded again of Mary’s fun and energetic spirit. She is dancing and laughing in every single photo!

    I am praying for your family during this time. I hope that the happy memories of Mary offer you comfort in this difficult time and knowing that you raised such a truly remarkable young lady.

  9. REPLY
    Grace says

    Mary lived next door to me in Dewey and we managed the Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team together our senior year. She was also Co-Captain of Thirds Field Hockey my sophomore year. I remember when Mary taught me and a few others the song “Ice Cream Paint Job” during Field Hockey practice, and I thought she was so in-the-know and awesome! I remember how she always raved about her cool older sister Regan, and just what a force of life she was. I also remember when she was the first girl to make the Varsity Tennis Team as a freshman. And of course, her humor was one of a kind. Mary was a force of life and light, and she blessed everyone she knew with laughter and joy. I, and countless others from Deerfield, feel so fortunate to have known her even though her time with us was far too short. And even then, she lived life so fully, surely she outpaced many who live longer. My heart goes out to your family and I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. REPLY
    Gail Craft says

    Dear Mary’s family .My heart goes out to your family I am genuinely heartbroken. I did not get the pleasure of meeting Mary but she was most definitely a great sweet person and I know my son Lee loved her very much. Prayers are covering

  11. REPLY
    Nancy D Clifford says

    The world will miss Mary’s beautiful smile and twinkling eyes. Another angel is in Heaven, looking down on all of us. God bless all the Chernas and extended family in this time of grief. Sending prayers for tomorrow’s service at Christ Church , Bronxville.. Love from all Fowlkes /Cliffords

  12. REPLY
    CHIP SCHULZ says

    Mary was a beautiful person. The world will miss her and her smile.
    Chip and Maria

  13. REPLY
    The Detwilers says

    Dear Courtney, Andy, Regan and Andrew,

    Mary was such a special girl who was full of spunk, style and fun. She was a bundle of confidence and kindness and was an amazing friend to Lizzie during those summers of bonding and tennis at Concordia.

    We are praying for your family and sending you all love.

  14. REPLY
    Teza Simunyola says

    Dear Courtney and Andy,

    On behalf of her tennis coaches at Concordia, thank you entrusting us to work with “Chi” Mary. We will celebrate her life with us. She was fun, a hard worker and respectful to us. She was very encouraging to her friends that during practice she would yell out, “It’s a battle” and all her friends would scream out “in seattle”. This was an encouragement to work hard. An act that will forever go on. As her personal Coach, I will always cherish the time I spent with her on the court. She definitely has left a profound effect on my life.

    My family and tennis coaches send our prayers to you, Andrew and Regan.

    Rest well “Chi”Mary

  15. REPLY
    Patty Warble says

    Courtney, the news about your daughter is heartbreaking. I am sending my love and prayers to you and your family. Love, Patty

  16. REPLY
    Ann Gerber says

    Dear Courtney, Andrew, Regan & Andrew,
    Elizabeth was devastated to hear about the loss of Mary and so are we! Jamie and I send our love, sympathy, and prayers during this difficult time.
    xoxo Ann & Jamie Gerber

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