• 37°

Mary Helene Cormier, 92

August 10 – Mary Helene Cormier, 92, passed away on August 4, 2010 in Farmville. She was born April 14, 1918. A New York native, she spent most of her life in Connecticut and Florida, though she lived for a period in both California and Kansas.

She attended Bassick High School in Bridgeport, CT, and studied painting near San Diego.

Mary was deeply devoted to friends and family. She unfortunately lost her south Florida home to Hurricane Wilma in 1995, after which she was relocated to Farmville. A self-taught pianist and organist, Mary was a student of German lieder, was fluent in Hungarian, and in her prime was known for her tasteful elegance, remarkable beauty and skillful and stunning oil paintings. She was an “Original” who, later in life became a die-hard fan of Turner Classic Movies and dreamed of emulating Joan Crawford and Betty Davis.

A one-time professional “torch singer” who, as Mari Carter, toured and performed in New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Mary's varied employs included stints as a stenographer, real estate broker, practical nurse, astrologist, dental assistant, mixologist and especially restauranteur. She claimed to have dated Hollywood heart-throbs, fellow Bridgeporters, Robert Mitchum, and Buster Crabbe. She would want to be remembered as that daring and darling little eighth grader who wrote a touching poem about Thomas Edison and which promoted, incredibly, a handwritten reply from the “wizard of Menlo Park” himself.

She is survived by her son, Raymond, now of Carrboro, NC; a sister, Ann Wilinich D'Addario of Connecticut; two married grandchildren, Jean-Louis Cormier of Hopkinton, MA, and Madelaine Cormier Cuevas of Boynton Beach, FL, as well as by two great-grandsons. Her extended family includes several nephews and nieces living in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Texas, as well as a sister-in-law, Anna D. Wilinich of Ligonier, PA, whose husband, George, was Mary's younger brother and who predeceased her, as did her parents who emigrated from eastern Europe in the early twentieth century.

A memorial service will be held in Florida. Donations in her honor may be made to the Cormier Honors College, Office of University Advancement, Longwood University.

Arrangements by Puckett Funeral Home, Farmville.