Mary B. Anderson was, in the parlance of pippitude, a pip. Born 92 years ago in her home at 14 Waterbury Road, Upper Montclair, NJ, she was given the nickname of “Treasure” as a little girl, and by all accounts, was well worthy of the sobriquet. She attended nearby Lacordaire Academy through high school before earning degrees in biology and chemistry at the College of New Rochelle. Later in life, she added degrees in Special Education and Library Science.
She met fellow Montclair native and big band music enthusiast Jack Anderson, and, despite religious differences, they were married at the Marlboro Inn in 1950. Jack agreed to raise any issue as Catholic, and, seemingly to prove his commitment to the cause, produced six children in nine years. A new house was built on Glenfield Road, in the shadow of Brookdale Park, and, after an uncharacteristic gap, the family was made complete with the arrival of Eileen, and we were seven.
Children were everywhere in those days, and we all had lots of friends in the neighborhood (especially the McDermotts), at school, scouts and CYO day camp. Your friends became Mary’s friends, and she treated everyone as her own. There were lots of cousins around in those days as well-Andersons (before they moved to Pennsylvania), the Boyces and the Perrys, with whom we vacationed at the Jersey Shore with Grandpa Frank and Nana Rose for several years.
Life was a kaleidoscope of Catholic school, with the ironically named Sisters of Charity, “educational” trips to Gettysburg, Sleepy Hollow, Mystic Seaport, Grover Cleveland’s House (!) and, of course, the precious two weeks in Bay Head, then Lavalette every summer. Once the kids had progressed through their various schools, Mary started to travel in earnest, globetrotting, often with a daughter or two in tow (having a boy along would have meant an extra hotel room). As kids moved away, she returned to teaching and became a substitute teacher and then a Special Ed teacher for schools in Bloomfield. In 1983, she became the librarian at Mt. St. Dominic Academy.
In 1989, she lost her son David to circumstances she didn’t fully understand and she stood by him through the day of his death in her home. By then, her children had evenly split between the west coast near Santa Cruz, and the east coast in New Jersey. Mary enjoyed the reunions that took place for her 70th birthday on Cape Cod, and her 80th in Bradley Beach, where she got to catch up with seldom seen relatives and friends. She had many lifelong friends and she cherished those relationships throughout her life. Even in the throes of her late life dementia, she still kept her weekly lunch date at the Town Pub with Mary Claire.
As anyone who has met Mary will attest, she was sharp, witty and strong-willed. She had an abiding curiosity and loved conversing with anyone at anytime, never failing to listen with interest and enthusiasm. She loved Montclair, the Jersey shore, St. Cassian’s, Holsten’s, fireworks in Brookdale Park and she was always up for dancing to good music. She had her share of health issues, especially over the last couple of years and happily, she is now at peace. The family especially wants to thank her caregivers over that time, Marshallah and the Atlantic Health Hospice people, notably Nicole, who helped Mary immeasurably over her final journey.
Our cousin, Jim Anderson sent along this tribute, which pretty much sums up Mary for many of us: “I like to think that everything I know about cool, calm and collected, I learned from her!”
Mary is survived by her husband of 69 years, Jack; her children, John (Monica), Jean, Mary Louise, Rosemary, Paul (Penny) and Eileen: her grandchildren, Taylor, Kelsey, Alissa, Meghan, Adrienne, Jackson, Carissa and Dattar, and her great grandchildren, Brayden, Jack, Michael and Zinnia.
There is no service information at this time, due to the pandemic. Please go to the Tribute page here: https://moriartyfuneralhome.com/tribute/details/611/Mary-Anderson/condolences.html#content-start if you would like to leave a memory of Mary. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider a donation to the Atlantic Health System Caregiver Fund: https://www.atlantichealth.org/patients-visitors/donate-volunteer.html