Mary Gee (1875-1962)
Citizen of Change: Promoting access to healthcare and education
Mary Gee (nee Stocks) was the daughter of an Archdeacon and her family were highly successful academics and sportsmen. In 1922 Mary married Percy Gee, who in 1924, on the death of his father - a substantial University benefactor - was appointed to the University Court of Governors, and later on that year became Chairman of its Finance and General Purposes Committee.
During World War I, she combined her teaching at Framlingham College with 114 hours of nursing care at the nearby Easton Park Hospital. From January 1916 to December 1918, Mary worked as a Red Cross Nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment at the country mansion of the Duke of Montrose, which was converted into a 14-bedded hospital for severely war-wounded soldiers and sailors.
Mary Gee was also a tireless worker for the Christian Oxford Mission to Calcutta, founded in 1888 by ten academics of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1901, the Mission had formed a branch for women, some of whom went out to India where they set up small schools for girls to train them as teachers.
In addition, she became involved in helping others in Leicester, as a volunteer in the Women's Voluntary Service, and during World War II worked for the local Red Cross.
Throughout Mary’s marriage to Percy, she became a great advocate of the new Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College (later the University of Leicester) and in her own right gave it generous financial support.
Percy and Mary Gee were an extremely devoted couple and after forty years of happy married life, they both died within a few weeks of each other. Upon his death in 1962 Percy Gee willed his home, Birnam House, Ratcliffe Road, Leicester to the University, on condition that any student accommodation built on the site of his extensive garden should be named the ‘Mary Gee Houses’. In accordance with Mr Gee's will, following the sale of Birnam House, this building continues to honour the name of his wife, Mary Gee.