Mary T. Estrin


Kansas City, MO.  Animal lover Mary Tralle Estrin joined her menagerie of  Silky Terriers in the great beyond on August 18, 2021. She outlived two husbands (Bud Tralle and Dick Estrin), but only one of her many dogs outlived her. 

Born Mary Ellen White to Beatrice Manka White and Herschel Francis White, she was raised by her mother to be independent and resilient.  Her mother was a seamstress at Nelly Don and made all Mary’s clothes.

Mary was known best for supplying animals for advertising photos. She could find any animal needed for a photo session and coax it to pose just as the art director had imagined.

She worked with all types of animals, mostly dogs and cats, but also lions and snakes! Photographers described Mary as “feisty, passionate and amazing”.

Mary was a breeder of Silky Terriers and also groomed dogs and dog sat. She was very active in the Silky Terrier Club of America, judging at dog shows in Kansas City, around the country and the world (even Australia).  

In earlier years, Mary modeled and assisted in doctor’s offices. She worked for Schaefer Associates during gift shows at the Kansas City Gift Mart from 1986 to 2003. 

Mary was quite proud of her three tattoos, especially the dog bone anklet. When she had a pacemaker implanted three years ago, she was appreciative that the doctor did not disturb her nearby tattoo!!


Cremation. Services Pending.

Memorial Contributions

Donations to Wayside Waifs would be appreciated. 


  1. Catherine Forbes on September 16, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Only the best angels wear lavender. Thank you Mary for all the fabulous photos to your fabulous and dear friendship over all these years. You were one in a million and you will be forever in my heart. With love always.

  2. Micra Callender on September 9, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Mary was truly a special person. As one of the people who helped find her pet talent for her photo shoots I know how picky she was and how careful she was with the pets. I will miss her.

  3. Gretchen Jacobson on September 5, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Mary was deeply loved by our 2 Bichons, Sophie and Chloe. They would start crying when we got to 95 and Wornell because they knew they were going to Mary’s. She will be missed by many. Gretchen and Larry Jacobson

  4. Robert Sheppard on September 5, 2021 at 10:12 am

    I waited until today to pay tribute to our friend Mary as this would have been her birthday and we would have been calling her.
    I knew Mary as an animal wrangler, but when we bought the house across the street from her in 1995, that’s when our friendship began. We spent many happy times together having dinners in our home. We’ve stayed in touch all these years and she will be greatly missed from our lives.
    She was one of a kind with a heart of gold. She loved all her dogs, but always had a special place in her heart for Louie, one of the few non-silky dogs she adopted. She would like that his name was mentioned here.
    Rest In Peace dear friend. We love you.
    Robert Sheppard & Steven Murphy

    • Jared Peterson on November 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm


      I have been trying to reach Mary’s next of kin. Would you be able to call me and assist with this? My cell phone is 816-237-8699

      She has a house that is getting extremely run down with all of the neglect. Trying to help get to the bottom of this

  5. Ginzy Schaefer on September 3, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    Mary would do anything for me or my dog, Ilford (a mutt, not a Silky)…or my cats!!
    When Ilford had knee surgery, he went to her house to recuperate. One year later,
    the OTHER KNEE went out. Ilford went to her house again!!
    When he bit the gardener and the police came to take Ilford to isolation at the Animal Control Facility, Mary took me there the next day and talked them into giving us back the dog!
    p.s. That gardener was fired for showing up unannounced!!
    Whenever we were out together, she would constantly stop to interview dogs and their owners. She was always on the lookout for dogs that might be called for in an advertising photo.

  6. Nick Vedros on September 3, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I met Mary way back in about 1979 at my very 1st photography studio at 1905 Main Street. Mary had this uncanny ability to always figure out how to get the animals to do what we needed for the shot. I learned a lot about working with animals on the set. We worked out way up to become quite good at accomplishing amazing photographs for some very large corporations. I hired her for a variety of dogs and cats, but also she helped me with a large snake and even a small mouse. I will never forget Mary. I’m so glad I sent her flowers last year on her 92nd birthday. She will be missed.

  7. Margaret Estrin on August 31, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    Please join us for an informal celebration of Mary on Sunday, September 19 from 2-4 at shelter 10 at Swope Park by Lake of the Woods to share stories and pictures about such a remarkable woman, her dogs and the lives she touched

    • Martha F Burton on September 18, 2021 at 7:29 pm

      Have you got the address

  8. Jackie Lieberman on August 29, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    No one understood and loved dogs like Mary, especially Silky Terriers. Mary bred Silkys, and she also rescued them (and sometimes other breeds, too). Monty, Buddy, Stubby and Lacey, please give Mary lots of dog kisses in heaven.

  9. Rozanne Hohensinner on August 29, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Mary will always have a special place in our hearts along with Gabbi & Pat who added so much joy and happiness to our lives.
    ~The Donnici family

  10. Martha Burton on August 27, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Mary was also a member of the Yorkshire Terrier Club of Greater KC.
    She enjoyed our meetings, our social gatherings afterwards.
    We became good friends, and whenever I would go to dog shows she would call me or I her on my way home with the results, and if I lost ask me what did I do wrong?
    Never was a dogs fault!
    RIP in peace my friend, I love you.

  11. Jaimie Kaczmarek on August 24, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Mary was one in a million. She was friend, confidant, partner in crime and family. I know she appreciated the trio of women who helped her make everything work. I hope they know how special they were to her. She will be forever in my heart.

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