Mary was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, Reno with a double major in English and French. While still a college student, she helped organize two children's choruses and enjoyed it so much that she decided to go back to school and become certified to teach music. She later received a Master's Degree in Education from Lesley College in Cambridge Massachusetts. The courses emphasized integrating the arts in the classroom.
Mary is currently retired, having taught general music and choir in elementary and middle school for thirty years in the Washoe County School District (Reno, Nevada). She is a member of ACDA, NMEA, NEA, and ASCAP.
In 1985, Mary met George Strid while team-teaching a sixth grade general music class. Their principal asked them to write a musical for Reading Week. They came up with their first collaboration entitled The Million Dollar Mystery and a writing team was born. They have been working together ever since and have written over two hundred songs and twenty-five musicals.
Mary and her husband Rich live in Reno with their dog Jackamo Poochini (Jack).