Mary DeMarco died on Tuesday March 7, 2023 a few months shy of her 94th birthday. Her daughter, Lori, was by her side when she quietly left us. The short time leading up to her death was difficult but she carried herself with grace, always acknowledging, with her characteristic gentleness, the care extended to her. Her absence will be acutely felt.
Mary had a notable archival memory that held great stores of family history and the accompanied stories that we never grew tired of hearing. Her cleaning tactics were legendary and rumor had it that you could move the washing machine and eat on the floor. This was while raising five children who were, you could imagine, spotless.
A 1950 graduate of Roger Williams General Hospital Nursing Program, Mary became a district nurse in Providence, caring for people in their homes. It was the perfect occupation for her generous, innately nurturing nature and she cut quite a figure in her starched white uniform, white stockings, polished white shoes and “Flossie” – standard dress protocol of the day. She was the epitome of a true bedside nurse. After a hiatus to raise a family, she retrained and went back to nursing. In 1987 she received the Hari Nurse of the Year Award from the Hospital Association of RI at the age of 58.
One cannot talk about our mother without mentioning her deep connection to animals, particularly dogs. It was not unusual to come home from school and find any assortment of strays in the house that she pulled from Roger Williams Park. Making pizza, doughboys and fried eggplant was another signature activity. She mentored under her mother-in-law, Latanina, and became an accomplished Italian cook, her Irish heritage not withstanding. She was an avid word searcher and ProJo crossword puzzler. Remarkably, Mary had a group of woman friends that she met while at Hope High School in the 1940s and maintained throughout her entire life. She was an involved and affectionate grandparent.
Mary met Ralph DeMarco on a blind date and they married in 1954 on the same day that Hurricane Edna hit. They honeymooned in Florida in a tornado. In spite of this inauspicious beginning they were together for 69 years. After retirement, they wintered in Fort Pierce, Florida and had a wild run as Snow Birds until they returned to Rhode Island full time. For over 60 years she lived in a house on Potter’s Pond, in East Matunuck, which is where the heart of our family still resides.
The daughter of Justin and Elizabeth McCarthy, Mary was the sister of Justin and James McCarthy, both deceased. She leaves behind her husband, Ralph and five children and their spouses; Cristine and Jeffrey Watson, Paul and Julie, Russell and Donna, Linda, Lori and four grandchildren, Brian, Talia, Melina and Christopher DeMarco. She has two dog grandchildren as well, Ella and Dora D and five cats – Poe, Elliot, Brady, Jules and Poppy.