Obituary & Guest Book
at The Day (newspaper) in New London, CT

    A Magnificent Life

(added 4/5/2009)

Memorial Service for Mary McGuire Cleary

to be held on Thursday,
June 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm
at the
First United Methodist Church
23 Willow Street, Mystic, CT

A gathering of relatives and friends to celebrate Mary's life with song and verse.  A reception in the fellowship hall to follow immediately afterwards.

This memorial web site is in her honor.  You can also visit and sign her Guest Book via the Obituary & Guest Book link above.

Please join us for this memorial service,

James A. Cleary III (Son)
Anne Cleary Noll (Daughter)


   Through out her entire life, Mary has been a hard working and caring person who gave her all to people she came in contact with.  She spent her life helping others. 

   Mary grew up dancing and singing.  At age 11, her family moved to St. Louis, Mo. In their church there, Mary was the assistant Director of a 125 member junior choir. She attended The Washington University in St. Louis.  After two years, she left college to work at the central branch of the local YWCA where she was the Y Teen Program Director and formed a choir of girls.

   All 4 of Mary's brothers fought in various areas during World War II.  Wanting to be a part of the effort, she resigned from the YWCA and signed up for a Red Cross Overseas program and was assigned to Burma. However, when Mary returned home she found her father crying because "I gave the war my four sons - now they are taking my only daughter."  So she declined the Red Cross assignment, her position at the Y in St Louis was already filled and so she took a job at the YWCA in Kentucky as the Teen Program Director.  In 1947, she met and married James A Cleary Jr. In 1948, their son James III was born.  

  Then they moved to Clarksville, IN.  There she joined the Presbyterian Church and directed three choirs. Her daughter, Anne, was born there in 1952.  Then a job opened in Groton. CT at Electric Boat that needed her husband's talents as a piping designer.  Mary moved with her family to New England in 1956 where she joined the Methodist Church.

   She has served on several mission building programs with through the Methodist church :Zaire, South Carolina twice, Missouri and Georgia. These missions followed disasters where the building trade was needed - Mary become well know as the roofer.  Assignment to roofing and subflooring became routine and she was amazing to her other workers.

   In Mystic, Mary served on many commissions and served one year as Director of the Junior Choir and directed a teen girl's choir. After the service, her son James moved back to CT where he worked full time and took care of his mother.

   Mary also held District and Conference appointments, was a Conference Officer for the United Methodist Women, a Lay Speaker and a teacher for Lay Speaking.  She worked for 17 years with the "Special Needs" children and young adults at Camp Aldersgate, serving as Camp Director for 12 of those years. She was a Justice of the Peace, has served as President of the Ecumenical Council, spoke on Missions to churches, schools and organizations and once taught tap dancing for the 3rd graders at the Multicultural Magnet School in New London.

Mary at United Methodist Church
New London, CT

   She had also been Moderator of Town Elections and was a Lay Member from Mystic United Methodist Church to the Annual Conference.

  She  also served as Mentor Coordinator for the Noank Baptist Group Home for girls from 1992 to 2004. In Mary's own words "Life is like making a banner so God will come dance with me."

   Mary was also an exceptional seamstress. She  made over 20 wedding dresses with the same number for bridesmaids and flower girls, dozens of prom dresses in addition to usual suits, general clothing items and draperies and alterations, even  for the late dancer Ann Miller, and Debbie Reynolds. For many years she was employed at downtown Mystic's Noyes Dry Goods.

Profile: Mary McGuire Cleary


Mary's Memorial Brick

USCGA Alumni Association Building
US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT


Cleary Family (1995)
Mary, James III, Colleen, Anne & Kelly 

Noll Family (2004)
Mark, Anne, Jared & Andrew




James III (1966)
Stonington High School

Anne (1970)


Jim & Anne

Jimmie & Anne (2004)


Jim at the pond for a relaxing evening

Eron & Nana

Mark & Anne (1972)
USCGA Ring Dance

Anne graduated from Stonington High School and attended the University of Connecticut, Groton branch.  In 1970 she met Mark at the US Coast Guard Academy and they married in June 1972.  

Mary & Molly (2005)

Mary at Andrew's favorite slide!

Mary & Jared (1983)

Nana & Andrew 1986

Mary & Eron Lodde

Mary & Jared (1984)


Mary & Patches (2005)

Jim with Molly at home

Mary, Anne & Jared (1984)

Family at Groton  airport 1984


Jared & Andrew

Mary & Jim 2004 at Home

Jared & Rachelle (2008)


Andrew & Amy (2008)

McGuire reunion in St. Louis ( 1997)


Mary was greatly loved

2/20/1922 - 3/02/2009