School mourns passing of Mary Rose Tully

January 20, 2010

Mary Rose Tully

Mary Rose Tully

Mary Rose Weber Tully, MPH, alumna and adjunct associate professor of maternal and child health at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, died Jan. 20 at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. She was 63.

Tully was a co-founder and senior clinical associate of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in the public health school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health. She also was director of Lactation Services at UNC Hospitals and a faculty member in the UNC schools of medicine and nursing.

Her dedication to providing excellent care to breastfeeding mothers, infants and families was the cornerstone of her years of service at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, N.C., and at UNC.

She served in leadership roles in the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, the American Public Health Association, the International Lactation Consultant Association, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition, and other organizations.Tully, who for 37 years volunteered with Nursing Mothers of Raleigh, received the Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s lifetime achievement award in 2007. That same year, she won awards from Wake County and the state of North Carolina for her volunteer service.

In accepting one award, Tully said, “I am truly privileged to live in a state that values contributions to maternal and child health so highly. The work I have done through the years has usually been done with many others on a team or committee. What I have accomplished has been through collaboration with other dedicated volunteers and my very supportive family.”

“She always did more and expected more of herself than of others,” said Miriam Labbok, MD, MPH, Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Maternal and Child Health and director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, “and she always shared any recognition that came her way with her entire team.”

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 29, 1946, to Rose Marie Weber and the late John Weber, Tully studied journalism at the University of Idaho and earned a degree in early child development from Meredith College. She received a Master of Public Health degree in maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Mary Rose was a passionate supporter of women, children and families and a highly valued member of our maternal and child health family,” said Herbert B. Peterson, MD, Kenan Distinguished Professor and chair of the maternal and child health department and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine.

“We will miss her deeply but will continue to be inspired by her life’s work.”

Surviving are her husband of 41 years, Douglas Tully; her son, Christopher Paul Tully, his wife Tania Georgiou Tully and their daughter Anika, all of Raleigh; her mother, Rose Weber of Minneapolis, Minn.; her sisters, Kristine Weber Rose, Kathy Weber, Susan Weber and Jacquie Weber; and her brothers, John Weber and Tom Weber.The family has requested, in lieu of flowers, that donations may be made to either of two funds:

  • The Mary Rose Tully Memorial Fund, to benefit her 7-year-old granddaughter and to cover unpaid medical bills. Checks may be mailed to the Mary Rose Tully Educational Fund, c/o Karen Britt Peeler, Attorney at Law, P.O. Box 12154, Raleigh, N.C. 27605.
  • The Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding InstituteTo make an online donation, please visit the UNC public health school website. Under Select a School Fund, designate Other. Enter Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative under Other Instructions.Checks (made payable to UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, with Mary Rose Tully Training Initiative in the memo line) may be mailed to Kembrie Greene, Office of External Affairs, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 107 Rosenau Hall, Campus Box 7400, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-7400.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Aquinas House at the Doggett Center, 600 Bilyeu Street, Raleigh, N.C.

A service to celebrate Tully’s life will be led by Father Alex Gonzalez on Friday, Jan. 22, at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, N.C.Following the Jan. 22 service, a reception will be held at the Doggett Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or