Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — EMPIRE — Mary Cecelia Wright, of Empire, passed away in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 9, 2013.
Mary was born in 1920 in Fall River, Mass. Her parents, Catherine and Joe Fitzpatrick, worked in textile mills there.
After moving to Brooklyn, N.Y., Mary lived across the street from Jimmy Wright, the boy she grew up with, fell in love with and was married to for 68 years. Mary and Jim raised their family in Royal Oak. The family was drawn “Up North,” discovered a sense of place at Glen Lake and a home for reunions and celebrations. Mary and Jim lived there for many years following the progress of seasons, feeding birds and watching deer from their big front window.
Mary enjoyed being part of the community as branch manager of Old Kent Bank in Glen Arbor, as a member of local art associations and parishioner of St. Philip Neri Church, Empire.
Mary followed her dream of becoming an artist. She made beautiful things with her hands for loved ones - quilts, hooked rugs, sweaters, scarves and hats to keep them warm and wild strawberry jam. Mary’s paintings were about places visited with Jim - winter beaches in Gulf Shores, Ala., the mists of Ireland, the clear waters of Lake Michigan and the rugged landscape of Alaska.
Two years after Jim passed away there would be one more adventure for Mary. She spent this last year in Fairbanks, Alaska, with her son, Chris. Mary enjoyed snowy mountains, sled dog races, Inuit culture, a moose in the yard and the immense sky and clouds of that land. She went to a yarn shop when it was 37 degrees below zero to buy yarn for a sweater!
Mary received devoted, compassionate care from the Fairbanks Hospice Program. Mary’s family wishes to thank her hospice nurses, Kate and Barb, and her doctor, Vincent Bartling. Mary’s family also wishes to thank Cindy Wright, of Glen Lake, and Aziz and Emine, of Durham, N.H., for their kindness and friendship.
Mary passed away peacefully at her home in Fairbanks. She will be missed by her daughter, Laurel and her husband, Danny; her son, Jim, his wife, Karen, and their children, Annie and Kyle; her son, Chris, his children, Katie and Christopher, and their mother, Cindy; and her sister, Dolores and her family.
Mary had her own personal spirit that guided her life and was expressed through love for her family, her gift for friendship and the art that she created.
A Mass and luncheon is planned to celebrate Mary’s life at 11 a.m. on Aug. 7 at St. Philip Neri Church, Empire.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to may make a donation to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Hospice, 1650 Cowles Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701; or to Glen Lake Community Schools Visual Arts Program, Attn. Superintendents Office, 3375 West Burdickville, Maple City, MI 49664; or a charity of one’s choice.