NORTHAMPTON - Mary E. Haines, 98, of Northampton and Osprey, Fla., died peacefully at home on Nov. 10, 2012. Her daughter Marybeth has been her dedicated caretaker for the past nine years and was by her side.
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Mary lived in Berlin and Newington, Conn., for most of her married life, raising her six children including two sets of twins.
Mary was a woman of faith who loved deeply and lived her life with joy. She was an inviting personality who knew how to make each person in her life feel appreciated and welcome - like family.
Mary established the SJ Riding Camp in Ellington, Conn., in 1956 as a place for her six children to spend the summers and ride horses. This year it celebrates its 57th birthday.
At age 68 Mary developed a passion for running. She competed in 20 National Senior Olympic events in the United States. Her American record for the 10K run in the 85-89 age group, set in 1999, is still standing. She has been inducted into the New
England 65 Plus Runners Club Hall of Fame. Mary also participated in athletic events all over the world, earning medals in many places including South Africa, Puerto Rico, England, Finland and Japan. When she began losing her sight, she continued to compete with the help of her loyal guide dog, Verna. She began sculling at age 92 and continued that sport on the Connecticut River until her 97th birthday.
While Mary was admired for her commitment to running and exercise, she will be most fondly remembered as Mom, Gram and Great Grammy. She knew how to bring family together, create a fun environment and be the source of laughter wherever she was. She loved children of every age, and enjoyed every minute of her Florida volunteer job, holding babies in a daycare center for children of single mothers.
Mary was predeceased by her husband, Willis Haines.
She is survived by her six children, Noreen Greene and her husband Marvin, Marybeth Home, Carolann Boucher and her husband Raymond, Robert Haines and his wife Joan, Pat Haines and Nancy Haines. The matriarch of the family, she will be remembered and cherished by her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be held on Nov. 25 at the Scout Hall Youth Center, 28 Abbe Road, East Windsor, Conn., at 3 p.m.
Donations in her memory can be made to VNA and Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, 168 Industrial Dr., Northampton, MA 01060 or Southeastern Guide Dogs, 4210 77th St., East Palmetto, FL 12882.
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Nov. 16, 2012