First Congregational Church
25 Park Pl
Lee, MA 01238
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Mary W. Carswell

1933 - 2018
Mary W. Carswell Obituary
Mary Killeen Wilde Carswell, died peacefully at her home in New York City on April 6, 2018. She was 84. Mary was born on July 7, 1933 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to Marjorie Field, a renowned Jersey breeder, and Colonel H. George Wilde of High Lawn Farm in Lee, Massachusetts.

She attended Milton Academy and Wellesley College graduating in 1954. She received her Master's in Social Work from Columbia University in 1958 and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Notre Dame College in 1995. In 1956, she met Robert Carswell, an attorney, and they were married a year later in New York. Bob was Senior Partner at Shearman & Sterling retiring in 2014. He died in 2016. Mary, Bob and their children lived in Washington, DC at various intervals while Bob served in the U.S. Treasury Department under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter. They enjoyed spending time at the home they built in the Berkshires.

Mary was an avid reader, writer, and patron of the arts. She is remembered for her distinguished career serving in various roles in the non-profit sector in both social services and the arts. Most notably she had associations on the boards of the International Social Services in New York from 1965 to 1985 and their International Council until 1991, International Longevity Center from 1998 to 2004, New York Academy of Art as President and Founding Board Member in 1982, the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund from 1993 until 1996, Austen Riggs Center from 1971 until 1996, the Clark Art Institute from 1992 until 2011, and The MacDowell Colony from 1984 until 2016.

For ten years from 1985 to 1996, Mary served as Executive Director of The MacDowell Colony, a year-round working retreat for creative artists, including writers, visual artists, composers, filmmakers, and architects. Owing to her accomplishments, the Colony flourished and resulted in the organization being recognized with the National Medal of Arts in 1997. She was on the board for thirty years, elected Vice Chairman in 2010 until 2016 when she became Trustee Emeritus. She was a passionate supporter of artists and as the Founding Chairman of the Alliance of Artists Communities (1994-96) she worked to build a network of residency programs nationally. Similarly, during her tenure on the Clark board beginning in 1992, she was deeply involved at the museum and was an early supporter of the Institute's major expansion that included two buildings by architect Tadao Ando and renovations of existing buildings by Selldorf Architects. Mary loved working with architects at the Clark as well as with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in 2012 on the library at The MacDowell Colony and many studio buildings. A room is dedicated in her and Bob's honor in the Ando building at The Clark.

For twenty-five years from 1971 to 1996 Mary had various leadership roles at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program in Stockbridge, Massachusetts as Trustee, President and Chairman. In her early working life as a social worker she was a supervisor of volunteers at Washington International Center (1962-65), and a counselor of gifted children in NYC Public Schools Clinic (1965-67). She continued to serve various social causes including as a Trustee of Spence School (1982-1985), Vice President and Trustee of St. Barnabas College in Johannesburg, South Africa (1986-1993), and the Advisory Council of the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1992).

Mrs. Carswell is survived by her daughter Kate Carswell and her husband, Timothy Schmoyer, of Santa Fe, NM, and her son, Will, of Hadley, MA, and by two grandsons, Asher and Finn Carswell. Her four siblings Lila Berle and Nancy Hahn of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Peter Wilde of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and Alice Field of Lee, Massachusetts, also survive her.

A memorial service in her honor will be held at the First Congregational Church of Lee, 25 Park Place, Lee Massachusetts, at 1 pm on May 19th, 2018. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to any of the organizations she loved including The MacDowell Colony, The Clark Art Institute, Austen Riggs Foundation and the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on May 1, 2018
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