Date of death: December 28, 2000
Residence at time of death: Lake Forest
Cause of death: Breast cancer
Occupation: Owner of Foodstuffs gourmet shops in Glencoe and Evanston
Family: Husband Richard, to whom she was married for 32 years; daughters Courtney Liberman, Brooke Kuehnle and Mary Blake; three grandchildren; sister Susan Hood; brother Lee.
Mary Beth's life: After HPHS, she majored in theater at Pine Manor Junior College in Massachusetts. Diploma in hand, she got a job where most women started in television in those days.....as a secretary at Channel 2 in Chicago, the CBS station. She wasn't a secretary for long. Seeing her brains and drive, the station brass made her a producer, and she was eventually put on the staff of the popular late night interview show "At Random." In eight years as a producer, she worked on arranging live interviews for various important newsmakers.
But the demands of being a producer didn't slow down Mary Beth's busy social life in Chicago. A November, 1965, article in the Tribune describing the Bachelors and Benedicts' Ball, one of the premiere events for the younger socialites of the city, reported that Miss Ostrander "looked gorgeous in a strapless gown with a brown and white print bodice and brown skirt."
Significantly, the newspaper account also told us that a tuxedoed fellow who seemed to be paying considerable attention to Mary Beth was Richard Donnelley III, a member of one of Chicago's most famous business families, R. R. Donnelley & Sons printing company.
Fifteen months later, in 1967, the social pages were reporting Mary Beth's engagement to Richard, describing her, in the cliche' of the time, as a Chicago "career girl." Settling down with her husband in Lake Forest, Mary Beth turned her attention to numerous charities and community projects. She was on the women's board of the Ravinia Festival Association and on the board of the Lake Forest chapter of the Infant Welfare Society.
She had a passion for playing golf and traveled extensively with her husband. She opened two gourmet food shops as an outgrowth of her own interest in enteretaining. She also enjoyed needle-point and gardening.
After her death from a 7-year battle with cancer, her husband and family launched a drive to build the Mary Beth Donnelley Pharmacology Center of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University. It was dedicated in her memory on November 17, 2003.