RIP: Mary Florey, Founder of Florey’s Books in Pacifica & Special Friend to Authors

Written by Mary’s son, Jon


Mary Florey, Founder of Florey’s Book Co.

On Valentines Day Pacifica lost a sympathetic ear and a big heart. Mary Florey died after a prolonged illness at 81 years old. Mary, who founded Florey’s Book Co. over thirty years ago, will be remembered by many of Pacifica’s readers because she would always take the time to listen to everyone. Sometimes she’d offer advice but mostly she just listened to people expressing all of life’s joys and sorrows as they looked for the right book. She might sell them a book or send them to the library.

Mary is survived by her lifetime partner, George Carpenter. She was the loving mother of Barbara Schlieve as well as James, Jon and Roy Florey and aunt to John and Mona Dean as well as Ralph Raymond Black and the late Lee Black. She is also survived by her brother Matt Black and his wife Nancy and their children Nancy, Caroline, and Janet. Her grandchildren include Aaron Schlieve who continues as the proprietor of Florey’s. Other grandchildren are Juliet Schlieve as well as Jessica, Michelle, Robert, Glen, Owen and David Florey. She was proud of each one.

She was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1926 and moved to San Francisco just before WWII started. She worked all her life, first as a waitress, bank teller, and sales clerk before deciding to open her own business and moving to Pacifica in 1977. Mary always supported local writers and her store was used for many, many lectures, events and meetings over the years.

A memorial service will be held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church at 1165 Seville Drive in Pacifica on Thursday, February 21st at 6 PM followed by a reception. Those who wish to bring food to the reception are invited to do so. People who loved Mary can also make a contribution to Florey’s Book Co. at 2120 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044

How I Learned About Inez Burns, The Famous “Queen of Abortionists”

If you know Mary Florey–the longtime owner of Florey’s Bookstore in Pacifica, you know what a great lady she is. She’s supportive, she’s loving, she’s a real person. Down-to-earth.

One day Mary Florey called me and told me that I might want to interview Caroline Carlisle, a Pacifica woman, who had a fascinating story to tell me about her relative, Inez Burns, the famous San Francisco “queen of abortionists.” Ms. Burns was headquartered in San Francisco but she had strong ties to the Coastside, at La Honda, Half Moon Bay and finally a hospital in Moss Beach.

It’s not often a writer gets a call like this–a tip that really pans out. The result of my multi-houred interview with Caroline Carllisle, along with my own newspaper research, follows in the next series of posts. Maybe someday soon I will put the amazing pieces together in a book–or a movie because the story of Inez Burns possesses so many colorful “L.A. Confidential-like” dimensions to it. And, as they say so often these days–you can’t make this stuff up.