All 4 of
Mary's brothers fought in various areas during World War II.
Wanting to be a part of the effort, she resigned from the YWCA and
signed up for a Red Cross Overseas program and was assigned to Burma.
However, when Mary returned home she found her father crying because
"I gave the war my four sons - now they are taking my only
daughter." So she declined the Red Cross assignment, her
position at the Y in St Louis was already filled and so she took a job at
the YWCA in Kentucky as the Teen Program Director. In 1947, she met and
married James A Cleary Jr. In 1948, their son James III was born.
they moved to Clarksville, IN. There she
joined the Presbyterian Church and directed three choirs. Her daughter,
Anne, was born there in 1952. Then a job opened in Groton. CT at Electric
Boat that needed her husband's talents as a piping designer. Mary moved with her family to New England in 1956 where she
joined the Methodist Church.
served on several mission building programs with through the Methodist
church :Zaire, South Carolina
twice, Missouri and Georgia. These missions followed disasters where the
building trade was needed - Mary become well know as the roofer.
Assignment to roofing and subflooring became routine and she was amazing
to her other workers.
Mary served on many commissions and served one year as Director of the
Junior Choir and directed a teen girl's choir. After the service, her
son James moved back to CT where he worked full time and took care of
held District and Conference appointments, was a Conference Officer for
the United Methodist Women, a Lay Speaker and a teacher for Lay
Speaking. She worked for 17 years with the "Special
Needs" children and young adults at Camp Aldersgate, serving as Camp Director for 12
of those years. She was a Justice of the Peace, has served as President
of the Ecumenical Council, spoke on Missions to churches, schools and
organizations and once taught tap dancing for the 3rd graders at the
Multicultural Magnet School in New London.
Mary at United
New London, CT
also been Moderator of Town Elections and was a Lay Member from Mystic
United Methodist Church to the Annual Conference.
She also served as Mentor Coordinator for the Noank Baptist Group Home for
girls from 1992 to 2004. In Mary's own words "Life is like making a
banner so God will come dance with me."
also an exceptional seamstress. She made over 20 wedding dresses
with the same number for bridesmaids and flower girls, dozens of prom
dresses in addition to usual suits, general clothing items and draperies
and alterations, even for the late dancer Ann Miller, and Debbie
Reynolds. For many years she was employed at downtown Mystic's Noyes Dry
Mary McGuire Cleary