When I heard of the passing of Mary O’Conner there was a great saddness that engulfed my being. I knew Hef would need all the love and support he could get to help him through such a loss. She was the glue that held the Playboy family together for 40 years. When I say Playboy is a family, that’s exactly what it has been to me and many girls for nearly 6o years now. Many of you have seen her on “The Girls Next Door” but what you may not know about Mary is that she was Hef’s right arm. She was the lady of the mansion and very much a family member to him and many of the Playmates.
Mary was a strong independent lady with many talents. She was even one of the first ladies to get into car racing and won a race, which helped pioneer the way for women in racing. Mary was also a force of nature and many girls feared her just because of her presence. She was almost six feet tall and always honest and direct by nature. It was her job to know every person that entered the grounds of the Playboy mansion and to keep Hef’s best interests at heart. Mary did her job with great loyalty, honesty and grace. She made you feel welcome and endeared herself to everyone who had the privilege to know her.
I thought for many years that she didn’t like me because I was never a Playmate that hung out a the mansion. I lived in Chicago when I became a Playmate and was always a strong, independent woman. So I didn’t really get to know Mary until the last decade. I think she became closer with the girls whom she felt needed her guidance and wisdom, and she gave that unconditionally to so many of the girls who frequented the mansion. Mary came to my bridal shower with Playmate Victoria Fuller and adored Ronn, so that made me feel that I got her approval, which was saying alot.
Yesterday’s memorial service was a small and intimate tribute to a woman who led a great life. One that was filled with many friends and much admiration. I feel blessed that I got to know her. She would have Saturday card games at her house where she cooked tons of food for all her friends and Ronn and I had attended one of them. But due to the fact that we live so far away and had kids with such a busy schedule, we didn’t get to spend much time with her for those kinds of evenings as much as we would have liked to. At 82 Mary was taking care of her great love, Captain Bob who died last year and ultimately her own health was failing.
Playmate Pop artist, Victoria Fuller lived close to Mary and took care of her in her final days. Victoria’s daughter, Trease was our flower girl in our wedding and we adore Victoria, who gave a touching loving speech at Mary’s memorial. Other speakers included, Berry Gordy and Cooper Hefner with many Playmates and pinup stars in attendance such as, Dita Von Teese. I think this was a fitting and beautiful tribute to a woman who led a wonderful life filled with beautiful memories and someone who left her mark on many that will never forget her.