Mary Page Gallagher Buttinger
1926 - 2021
Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home
258 Prospect Street
Torrington, CT
Mary Page (Burns) Gallagher Buttinger
Our beloved matriarch, Mary Page Burns Gallagher Buttinger, came into this world on Nov. 18, 1926 and met her demise, as she was wont to say, on Sept. 4, 2021. A woman of uncommon grace and dignity, she had voracious curiosity, quiet intellect, and disarming warmth and charisma. She was a joy to all who met her. Mary Page was born to the late John H. and Lucy (Stockman) Burns. She died at the Waterford, CT home of her eldest daughter, Maureen Gallagher. She was predeceased by her dear brother, John H. Burns, Jr., who was killed in action in WWII.
Pagey's last days were highlighted by 1940s movies, patter songs by Gilbert and Sullivan, A. A. Milne poetry, and dancing. A graduate of the College of New Rochelle, Mary Page worked in New York City before marrying the late Leonard W. Gallagher in 1948 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The couple moved to Torrington, CT, where, while raising seven children, Mary Page wrote articles for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including Yankee Magazine, The Hartford Courant, Register Citizen, and The Day of New London, on topics as varied as Cooley's Anemia, pewter craftsmen, exchange students who stayed at the family home over the years, and antiques. On the home front, Mary sewed custom clothing for her daughters, sang joyously at the kitchen sink, taught ballroom dancing to her children, bought wacky presents (think fur bathing suits), sent her children off to school with whimsical notes and sandwich designs, was renowned for the most incredibly delicious Saturday night apple pies, and hid Easter baskets in tough spots like the dryer.
Yet her intellect lured her to pursue a Master's degree from St. Joseph College, an hour away in West Hartford. While she sat on the floor devouring scholarly journals, her younger children would brush her hair, sit in her lap, and climb all over her – well, until she started reading those academic tomes out loud. With a full household and college tuitions looming, she went to work, holding a number of positions, including a State of Connecticut Senior Certified Rehabilitation Counselor for Vocational Rehabilitation Services, where she developed ways to lead folks with disabilities to richer and more independent lives.
After retirement, Mary, now living in Waterford, continued her photography, writing and editing, working, for instance, with top dermatologists on a monograph series for Yale University. Over the years, she also was a lecturer at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, a Yale University Child Study Center interviewer, committee secretary for the Connecticut State Legislative committees on Public Health and Safety, and Finance, and a therapist/counselor in the practice of individual and group therapy. Other professional and volunteer positions included Vice President (Connecticut) for the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association, member of the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, President of the Northwest Chapter of Mental Health Association of CT, and member of the Board of Directors for the Housatonic Mental Health Center, and chief liaison for Rehabilitation Services for the Connecticut and Rhode Island communities. She was an informal and beloved counselor to anyone who came to her for guidance. At the same time, Mary both inspired and responded to the wants, desires and interests of her children and grandchildren. For one, she announced one day it was time to encourage interests in world history as well as the stock market; another was given tickets to the Goodhouse.
She herself was a lifelong walker and swimmer, played tennis into her 80s, and always read voraciously, mostly non-fiction. At age 92, she bought "Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy," by George Gilder. Propelled by her desire to learn and experience the new, she traveled extensively. She took a six-week arts and antiques course at Sotheby's in England, traveled a Belgium barge, went barefoot sailing on The Taber, spent time in southeast Asia, and explored Talloires, France, as well as many other sites. Mary Page also volunteered for a number of organizations, including the Waterford Women's Club and the Food Pantry in New London.
Until moving to Waterford, Mary Page lived with her husband, Robert Buttinger, at Masonicare at Chester Village, in Chester, CT, where she made many friends, and swam almost every day.
Survivors include her children, Patrick (Linda) Gallagher, Maureen Gallagher, Kathleen (Gary) Bush, Timothy Gallagher, Meghan (Michael) Daigle, Siobhan Gallagher, Bridget Page Walker; her beloved grandchildren, Matthew (Laure) Gallagher, Meredith Page (Randolph) Kennedy, Andrew (Kcie) Gallagher, Samuel Page Urban, Nathan (Leah) and Devin (Leah) Bush, Dillon Daigle, Emma Page Walker, and Lily Walker; and her dearly beloved great-grandchildren, Jillian Page and Russell Kennedy, Elodie Gallagher, and Clare and Moira Page Bush, as well as her husband. She also is survived by her dear friend Cindy Merbaum Pacini and her former son-in-law Philip Walker.
Friends may call Tuesday, September 7, 2021 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington. The family requests unvaccinated visitors attending calling hours to please wear a mask. Burial in East Morris Cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood, or The Morris Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 154, Morris, CT 06763.
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Published by Register Citizen on Sep. 5, 2021.
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Calling hours
5:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home
258 Prospect Street, Torrington, CT
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