Marblehead — Mary E. (Dolan) deBettencourt, age 96, formerly of West Newton and Needham, died peacefully in her daughter’s home in Marblehead on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. Mary lived a full and vibrant life. Mary was the beloved wife of the late Dr. Joseph T. deBettencourt, with whom she shared 50 years of marriage, prior to his death in 1993.
She is survived by her daughter Diane “Dee” and her husband John Vigneron of Marblehead and their children Kevin of Dorchester and Chrissy of South Boston; and a son Joseph and his wife Nancy deBettencourt and their children Christian of Chicago, IL, and Catherine “Kiki” of St. Louis, MO. Mary was predeceased by her son John in 2011. She is also survived by his wife Cindy O’Brien and his daughters, Nicole Browning, and Michelle Bouchard and their husbands of Manchester, New Hampshire, along with 5 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Mary and her twin brother John were born at home in Dorchester on June 27, 1916. She attended Simmons College where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She began her career at Rhode Island Hospital and then took a position as a full-time caseworker at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. She resigned to get married, moved to Washington, D.C., and supervised four students at Catholic University School of Social Work. Mary and Joe returned to Boston and moved into their first home in West Newton with their 3 children. Several years later she returned to work at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Newton Health Center. She also worked at Crittenton Hastings House and later in Deaconess Hospital, where she was well respected by the staff doctors and nurses.
Mary had a lifelong connection to Harvard University, where her husband received his Doctor of Science degree and her twin brother and son earned their undergraduate degrees. She loved attending Harvard football games and was a long-standing member of the Harvard Club of Boston.
She loved her Catholic faith and was active in church activities and ecumenical groups. She was a former parishioner of St. Bernard’s in West Newton, St. Philip Neri in Waban, and St. Bartholomew Church in Needham. She was most recently a member of the Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Marblehead.
Mary traveled the world extensively with her husband Joseph. Memorable trips included a cruise through the Panama Canal (a lifelong dream of her husband), a trip to Rome to see the Pope, and a special trip to South America where they traveled to Machu Picchu and to Bogota, Colombia, with Diane to see Patricia Chica, who was a beloved American Field Service exchange student who lived with our family for a year. They also traveled to Canada, Hawaii and throughout Europe. Mary enjoyed visiting family and friends throughout New England and celebrating Christmas in St. Louis with her son Joe and his family for over 25 years. She enjoyed bridge, her book clubs, and going to the Swampscott Beach Club.
Mary loved all her children equally, but shared a special bond with her daughter Diane with whom she lived over the last five years. Her family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers who gave Mary such loving, professional care. Her style, grace, sense of humor and warm, friendly manner left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She was the consummate lady and will be greatly missed.
ARRANGEMENTS: Visitation will be on Friday, January 4, 2013, 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St (corner of North St.), Salem, followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 81 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead. Interment will be on Saturday, January 5, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 1 Wellesley Ave, Needham.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are appreciated to Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston, 75 Sylvan St, Suite B 102, Danvers, MA 01923 or to the Mary E. deBettencourt Scholarship, c/o The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119. For online guest book or additional information, please call 781 631 8885 or visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com.