Mary M. McKay

3 entries
  • "I am so grateful for the many walks and talks we shared..."
    - Maribeth Domanski
  • "Mary was one of the most beautiful people inside and out...."
    - Michele Snyder
  • "Blue VW Beetle here we go up North Street onto Horn of the..."
    - Tammy Picard
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MIDDLESEX - Mary McKay, of Middlesex, passed away on July 19 at home. Mary Margaret McKay, dancer, artist, dog and cat lover, was born Jan. 4, 1931, in Laramie, Wyoming. Valedictorian of her high school class, she moved to Boston to attend MIT, majoring in biology, where she met and married Arne Von Hippel.

After graduation and a divorce, she lived in lower Manhattan studying modern dance at the Henry Street Playhouse where she performed with the Alwin Nikolais Company and Beverly Schmidt. Mary was part of the Chameleon Dance Company, performing at Goddard College and in New York. She immersed herself in the New York jazz scene in the 1950s and 1960s, choreographing and performing modern dance pieces to accompany the music of her beloved partner, jazz cellist Calo Scott. Mary also developed a lifelong friendship with jazz musician Freddie Pettis. After Calo suffered a stroke, the couple moved to Middlesex, Vermont, living next door to her long-time friends from New York dancing days, Barbara and Jim Buckley, and near her very special neighbors, Maribeth and O.W.Domanski, Tom Eckart and Linda Hultz.

She fell in love with the hills and mountains of Vermont. Although the elevation didn't match that of the Snowy Range in Wyoming, one of her favorite childhood places and a place she enjoyed with her favorite Aunt Gert, Mary recognized and appreciated the beauty around her. She never failed to stop and comment on the colors and forms of the hills, trees and clouds as she walked the road or enjoyed rides in her VW Beetle.

Mary shared her life with several beloved animal friends: Pearly, Jenny, Heidi, Murray, Niami, Alfie and Guz were more than her pets, they were Mary's companions and family. Any fortunate dog or cat who came to Mary's door was warmly welcomed.

Mary loved music and she played piano most of her life until her rheumatoid arthritis made it too difficult. She continued to love listening to music and jazz remained a top choice, as well as Rachmaninoff. In addition to her passion for music and dance, Mary enjoyed sketching and painting. Her friends and neighbors were treated to charming, individually-made cards on Christmas and special occasions.

Mary was a determined, independent woman throughout her life. When she became ill and needed more support to live at home, it was a struggle for her to accept it. But she did accept it and came to embrace the wonderful care of women who would become dear friends: Tammy Picard, Nancy Reilly, Laura Ruth, Patty Harris, Sophie Bettman-Kearson and the nurses from CVHH.

Published in Times Argus on July 25, 2015