Mary Harbert Railsback
May 3, 1930 - October 28, 2022
On October 28th Mary Harbert Railsback Passed away peacefully at her home at the age of 92. She was
the only child born to John C. and Katherine Kimball Harbert in Akron, Ohio. Mary’s first husband,
Norman E. Railsback, of Eckert Colorado, died in June 2008. Her husband of 25 years, Joel L Ekstrom died
Mary was raised in Pasadena, CA and the Wilmington, DE area, graduating from the Tower Hill School in
1948. She learned a love of golf and sports from her father and a love of art from her mother. A
debutante at 18, Mary was presented to society by her parents and maternal uncle and aunt Mr. and
Mrs. Philip Kimball.
After earning he B.A. from Connecticut College for Women in 1952, Mary worked for the C.I.A. in
Frankfurt am Main for two years during the German Cold War.
Mary wed Norman E. Railsback in 1959, residing in Washington D.C., where their daughter was born.
Later they moved to Carderock Springs in Bethesda, Maryland where two sons joined the family. The
marriage ended in divorce.
Mary was a career secretary, an exceptional typist and research grant writer at the National Institutes of
Health in Bethesda, retiring in 1991. Mary was an active member of The Tennis Group, enjoying
weekend tennis group trips to Bethany Beach, DE. In Washington, D.C. she volunteered as a docent first
at the National Gallery of Art, and later as a charter member of the National Museum of Women in The
Arts. In Arizona, Mary and Joel enjoyed supporting and collecting artwork at the Museum of Northern
Mary and Joel married in June of 1997 and travelled frequently throughout the world. As well Mary
pursued her love of the games of tennis and golf at Canyon Mesa Country Club and Oak Creek C.C. In her
later years Mary endeavored to learn duplicate bridge and joined the DAR, DAC and the Colonial Dames
National Societies. She was instrumental in founding a book group in the Village of Oak Creek, her
Surviving Mary are Joel’s large extended family; her son, Steven Railsback of Durango, Colorado, son Eric
Railsback and his wife Deborah Myers and granddaughter, Aurora Railsback, of Brighton, Utah. Mary’s
daughter Kathie Sabatke, husband Todd Sabatke, grandson Andy Sabatke, of Hotchkiss, Colorado; her
granddaughter Jessica (Casey) Forshee and Mary’s three great grandsons, Jason and Levi Kuntz and
Gaige Forshee of Pania, Colorado.
The family wishes to thank Maggie’s Hospice, especially, nurse Carmella and Jeff Calia, her hospice
caregiver, with Comprehensive Care Management Advisors.
Mary was laid to rest next to her husband, Joel, on November 9th at the Lower Brandywine Cemetery in
Delaware. A memorial service will be held at The Church of the Red Rocks, Sedona on Friday, November
25th at 10:30am. All are welcome! Arrangements had been made by Bueler Funeral Home.