Mary O. Fritchie (1920-2011)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mary O. Fritchie (1920-2011)

Has there been a more iconic local gal than Mary Ocame Fritchie since the passing of Gloria Seeley in 1984?

I suppose that a case might be made for her life-long best pal "Ria" Del Bene...

Mary and Ria, former 1998 co-Grand Marshals, at the 2004 St. Patrick's Parade
Mary Fritchie and Ria Del Bene, former 1998 co-Grand Marshals, at the 2004 St. Patrick's Parade

...but in my view it's the lady who lived on Wayne Court, did everything for everyone, and was constitutionally incapable of saying "No" to any com­munity event which asked her help.

That in itself could be a problem at times, as Mary was incredibly over-subscribed... she simply couldn't do everything she wanted, and tried, to do.

But one of her greatest legacies is the event long-ago named in her honor, the Mary O. Fritchie Outdoor Juried Fine Art Show, now under the aegis of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce.

(The Chamber is advertising it as "the 39th Annual," but what do they know! I remember working on it with Mary, my Mom and "Pete" Klotz Summer of 1960 when it was a week-long event.)

She was quite a gal and was as active as her infirmities allowed her... she had a weak heart, but one would never know it from her schedule or level of enthusiasm.

Mary left us this morning after a long conva­lescence, and we are all of us diminished.

Visitation will be this Friday at 11:00 am at Follett and Werner Funeral Home, followed by a service at 1:00 pm.


1. Hunt Marckwald said...

Mary was a great gal. Once in 1984 at 11:00 pm, I received a phone call and had to immediately travel to a death bed. I had to call Mary, who delivered airline tickets to my house at midnight, clad in an overcoat and a night gown. I will never forget her kindness in my time of need. God Bless You, Mary.

That's right! I'd forgotten that she was in the travel business back in the '80s... office in The Patio Building on Main Street, with Marilyn Crennan, I believe.

2. Paramarine said...

While I wouldn't expect that she'd remember me, I do remember her from my childhood. And at that single digit age, I remember thinking right away that she was a very nice lady. May she rest in peace.

3. Tugboat Bertha said...

Mary was beautiful inside and out. We loved her and knew her all our lives. It won't be the same Village without her. Rest in peace, sweet Mary.

4. Mary Anne DiMilia said...

Mary was a good friend of mine and colleague. We shared many good times together for I had taken care of Mary for quite a few years, evenings and weekends for there was no one there to look after her. I will always remember her favorite cat Timmey and her latest dog Duna found lost running on Dune Road by Jay LeMin. She was always generous and kind and we shared many dinners and events out at the late Johnny Chih's Restaurnat and especially Julies' Casa Basso. She will always be remembered by me for her kindness and loving manners to her friends and neighbors alike. Thank you Mary always. God love you.

5. Rich Benjamin, Jr said...

Mary was a great aunt to me. Our family has many nice memories of her visits to Monticello. God Bless.

6. Virginia Whitelaw said...

I worked for Mary 40 years ago when she had Westhampton Telephone Answering Service. Class of '72 had a new course where you'd go to school in the morning and work in the afternoon. It was headed by Bart Wilenski. I was made part of Mary's family including her six (6!) yapping poodles! God Bless you Mary, and thanks for teaching me so much.

O sweet honeu mustard! I'd forgotten those dogs... (I only recall five) which Mary used to try to discipline (half-heartedly) with a fly-swatter.

There were also the exotic birds and iguana, as I recall.

7. Virginia Whitelaw said...

Barbara had the iguana and birds... what a household! Mary also had a collection of match safes. I added to her collection when I would visit the Adirondacks.

I remember Barbara's exotic fauna, but not only did I never see those "match safes," I don't even know what they are! (Which admission will doubtless cost me the "Match Safe vote," such as it is.
– Dean

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