Mary Hope Mason died on September 25, 2020 at the age of 97.
Mary was born on January 22, 1923, and was the fourth child of Dr. Howard and Jean Mason from Manhattan and Keene Valley. In 1930, at the age of 7, her parents bought their Keene Valley camp. From then on, her heart was always with Keene and Keene Valley, the community and their beloved Adirondacks.
The depression affected her family, but she was fortunate enough to graduate from Brearley School in New York City in 1946, then Smith College and Columbia University, and eventually become a nurse. She did her part in supporting the war by working in a factory and laying ridges for tanks. After the war she worked as a nurse in hospitals and factories.
At the age of 27 she married Fred Mason. Like her sisters Barbara and Jeannie, Rev. Paul Wolf married at Keene Valley Congregational Church, followed by a reception at the Tamarack Inn on Airport Road. Mary and Fred had two sons, Dan and Dave, and moved from Brooklyn to their new home on Long Island, where they always managed to stay in the Keene Valley for most of the summer. Summers in the Keene Valley were idyllic, with the family spending time with Mary Hope’s parents, sisters, spouses, and children, followed by grandchildren in later years.
In 1964 the family moved to central New Jersey, allowing more time with Fred’s family in southern New Jersey. Mary returned to work as a substitute school nurse and teacher. She also joined the board of directors and eventually served as chairman of Parker Home, an advanced nursing home that now operates multiple locations in New Jersey. In 1971, Fred’s work brought Mary and Fred to Boston for a brief period. They moved back to suburban NYC in 1973, this time to Hastings-on-Hudson, which they loved. In 1978 Dave bought 2 acres on Gristmill and slowly began building a house, a long project that Mary and Fred enjoyed. Fred retired in 1985 and moved to Orlando, Florida, still returning to Keene Valley annually. Fred died before Mary in 1994.
In 2002, after careful consideration, she decided to leave Florida and move to Medford Leas, an ongoing care community in Medford, New Jersey, where she made many very close friends.
Throughout her life, while moving around quite a lot and making friends easily, she spent almost every summer in the Keene Valley seeking roots and deep friendships. In Keene Valley, she volunteered for years at the Keene Valley Library Archives, working with Peggy O’Brien and Dorothy Irving. She helped sell library books, volunteering first and then leading it for several years, enjoying designing bulletin boards for the archive photo exhibition. She also attended and participated “Got the heavy lifting” for the annual church bazaar for several years. Your family and friends may remember her many casual summer cocktail parties the most. She loved having a good conversation with almost everyone about almost anything.
After 97 years her death is certainly sad, but it is also a celebration! A celebration of an incredible woman, an incredible life. The family looks forward to celebrating it when the COVID vaccine becomes widespread. A family grave service is planned.
She is survived by her sons Dan and Dave and Dan’s wife Debby Rice and grandchildren Hilary and Elyssa and Graham and Dave’s husband Jim Herman and grandson Tim. She had two great-grandchildren, Luca Herman and Calvin Mason. She had 11 nieces and nephews in Keene, Jay, Phoenix, Arizona, Maryland, South Carolina, California, and southern New Jersey, along with her spouses and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews and an extended family.
Instead of flowers, the family asked you to send donations to Keene Valley Congregational Church and Keene Valley Library.