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Mary Louis Whitham Eastman, Photographer and long time Westport resident Mary Eastman, recently of Hanover, NH, passed away on Wednesday, February 27, 2013. She was the widow of P. D. Eastman, children's book author and illustrator. Mary Louise Whitham was born on April 30, 1915 in Seattle, Washington. In 1929 her family settled in Glendale, Ca. where Mary graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Bachelor's degree in 1937. She worked at the Walt Disney Studio, helping to choose the colors for such films as "Pinocchio", "Bambi" and "Fantasia". While at Disney's, Mary met Philip Dey Eastman. They married in 1941. Phil worked in the animation business and served in the Signal Corps Motion Picture Unit of U. S. military, while Mary raised their two young sons. In the fall of 1954, the family moved to Westport, where Mary began her photography career. She started with portraits of her friends' children but her love of travel soon presented her with a new focal point - the village women of Tunisia. She developed many friendships there, giving her access to events that would not normally be open to outsiders. Her photographs, which preserved the fast disappearing costumes and customs of the women, were shown at the Silvermine Guild, of which she was a member. Mary was also a member of the National Arts Club in New York City. In the mid-1960's Mary began illustrating books with her photographs. Among them were "Haunted New England" and "Dark And Bloodied Ground" with Mary Bolte, "To Be On An Island" with Constance Kiermaier and Bride Whelan, "Frost, You Say?" with Marshall J. Dodge 3rd. Her photographs were included in "Cairo 5500 Years" by Desmond Stewart and "Look What I Found!" by Marshal T. Case.
Mary is survived by her two sons, Peter (Tony) Eastman of Westport and Alan Eastman of Waldoboro, Me., 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
Published in StamfordAdvocate on Mar. 20, 2013