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Lola Marguerite Finch Mathewson "Peggy" FRARY

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Lola Marguerite Finch Mathewson "Peggy" FRARY Obituary
FRARY, Lola Marguerite Finch Mathewson "Peggy"

Lola Marguerite (Peggy) Finch Mathewson Frary was born at 13 Grosvenor Square in the heart of the Mayfair District in London, England in 1920. As a young girl during World War II she drove an ambulance for the U.S. armed forces. Married at a young age to American Christy Mathewson, son of baseball great Christy Mathewson, Sr. she emigrated in 1940 to the United States where the couple made their home on a ranch near San Antonio. When her young husband was tragically killed in an explosion a few years later, Peggy moved to an apartment at the home of arts patron Marion Koogler McNey (now the site of the McNey Art Museum) at Mrs. McNey's invitation. Peggy then devoted her considerable energy and talents to the San Antonio art scene. It was during that time she met the young artist and director of the McNey Art School, Michael Frary. The two married in 1950 and in 1952, when Michael was offered a teaching position at UT Austin the couple moved to a contemporary house in Northwest Hills which has been the Frary home for over fifty years. A gracious hostess with a flair for entertaining and decorating, Peggy turned the home into a gathering place for friends and artists from all parts of the world and the site of some of the best parties in Austin. Adventurous and intellectually curious, the Frarys travelled widely, her favorite destinations being South Africa and a condominium they owned in Acapulco, Mexico.

With her energy, drive, creativity and charm, Peggy became a major force in the Austin arts scene. When she discovered Laguna Gloria, the historic home that housed the Texas Fine Arts Association and Austin's only civic art museum, was floundering and about to close, Peggy organized what was the first Fiesta. This event, which continues today, raised enough money for the fledgling museum to slowly regain sound financial footing, and evolve into what is now the Austin Museum of Art. The 50th anniversary of Fiesta was dedicated to her.

Peggy was also honored, along with her husband, with a lifetime achievement award by the Austin Visual Arts Association, and the Blanton Museum of Art recently gave her an award in recognition of her valuable support for over four decades. Peggy also was instrumental in organizing and creating the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and served on its original Board of Directors.

Other organizations that benefitted from her talents are the Open Forum, the Austin Art League, Group 1, the English Speaking Union, and the Austin Yacht Club, where the Frarys kept and raced a sailboat for many years. A devoted lover of animals, the Frary household was full of dogs, cats, birds, as well as several peacocks, and Peggy donated generously to animal rescue organizations. She also was a master gardener who was active in the gardening community and often shared with friends the fruits, vegetables and flowers she grew.

For all the many contributions she made to the community, her friends were the greatest recipients of her generosity. She fed us, entertained us, nurtured us, advised us, scolded us, and loved us, earning her the nickname "Ma" Frary. Our lives and those of all Austinites are richer for having her among us.

Peggy was preceded in death by her husband of over fifty years, Michael Frary, and her stepson, Michael Frary, Jr. She is survived by her sons, Mark Frary and his wife Marsha Frary and David Frary; grandsons, Robert Frary and Matthew Frary; and three great grandchildren, Kassidie, Kenzie and Khloi; as well as many friends and admirers.

Visitation will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 25th followed by a memorial service beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 North Lamar in Austin.

The Frary family would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Fernando Gonzalez, Damita King, and Odyssey Hospice for all of their time and love.

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com

Published in Austin American-Statesman from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 2014
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