Mary Ann Cahill

Illinois United States
(b. 1927 - d. 2014)

Mary Ann Cahill, La Leche League co-Founder, was born on June 10, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. At the age of 87, she passed away peacefully on October 26, 2014 in McHenry, Illinois, USA. On June 5, 1948, she married Charles "Chuck" Cahill. Together, they built their dream home,"big enough for all the kids," in Libertyville, Illinois. Chuck passed away in 1978. Mary Ann is survived by her nine children, 20 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Mary Ann's life was defined by family, her Catholic Faith, particularly the Church's social gospel, a lively intelligence that kept her involved with the world until the day she died, and the cause of her life, La Leche League.

Mary Ann lived her faith, which showed in her daily Mass attendance and her personal, active commitment to making the world a better place, a commitment she passed on to her children and grandchildren. She and Chuck were leaders in the Christian Family Movement at St. Joseph's Church in Libertyville, and she helped establish the St. Vincent De Paul Society at the Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry. On September 14, 2014, she was recognized as A Catholic Woman of Inspiration by the McHenry Deanery Council of Catholic Women.

In 1956, Mary Ann became one of the Founders of La Leche League, an organization in Franklin Park, Illinois, that grew from a group of seven mothers and became a world wide organization dedicated to "Good Mothering Through Breastfeeding." After the women decided they could no longer keep up with the demand for information by writing individual letters back to the many mothers asking for breastfeeding help, Mary Ann helped write the first manual for La Leche League, "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding." Mary Ann was the author of "Seven Voices, One Dream, an oral history of La Leche League in the words of the Founders, as well as authoring "The Heart Has Its Own Reasons: Mothering Wisdom for the 1980s," and numerous articles in La Leche League publications and journals. She was an emeritus member of the La Leche League International Board of Directors.