Newburyport, MA — Mary (Kuchun) Williams of Newburyport, formerly of Amesbury, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning with her two children at her side.
Mary was born on a farm in West Newbury, Mass., in 1922. She was the third of three children of Helen Lydskaya and Nicholas Kuchun, Russian immigrants who came to this country in the early 1900s. Mary's older brother, Wasal (Johnny), died in 1972, and her sister, Sonya Zigalo, died in 2006. The family lived on their farm on Turkey Hill Road in Newbury. They later moved to Salem where Mary and her siblings attended the Salem Public schools during the day and Russian classes in the evening to continue to learn their Russian language which was spoken at home. Mary graduated Salem High School in 1940. While attending school, Mary proudly marched with the band as a member of the baton squad alongside her best friend, Sally (Hadad) Tarascuk O'Connor. Upon graduation Mary worked at the GE plant in Lynn in the drafting room. At GE she often fed her coworkers peppered fudge on April Fool’s Day, and was voted "best legs." When Mary's mother remarried Kiprian Korney, of Korney's Market on Water St. in Newburyport, Mary worked alongside them serving the neighborhood. During WWII Mary and her friends helped in the war effort by attending every USO dance they could. Mary was a great dancer. She had many wedding proposals from the GI's. But, it wasn't until 1951, that she married Eino A. Williams of Amesbury. He was the proprietor of the Amesbury Finnish Steam Bath on Mill St. in Amesbury. She was looking forward to meeting this handsome, blond Finnish man, and one evening she happened to appear at the door of the Finnish Sauna with a friend. She said that when she walked in, Eino looked up at her, and she fell in love. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen. She told herself then, that she would marry him one day. Nine months later, they were engaged, and married in a few short months. Together they ran the Amesbury Steam Bath, which was a popular social spot in town. They had two children, Mark Eino and Elin Eva. Sadly, Eino died of cancer in 1960, and the sauna closed. Mary raised her two children alone, and worked various jobs to support her family. Throughout her life, Mary was an active member of Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Salem, Mass. She attended Sunday Mass regularly for many years with her longtime friend, Connie Christuk of Plum Island. Mary was also a volunteer at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for many years. She was a faithful fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics. Several years ago, Mary moved into the James Sullivan Building on Temple St. in Newburyport. She developed and maintained many friendships while there. She spent her last months at Country Manor Rehabilitation Center in Newburyport, following a fall which broke her leg. But Mary was strong and determined and was able to walk again thanks to their wonderful care. Mary was lovingly cared for by many wonderful staff members.