Vanderwarker, Mary W.

April 4, 2018

ALBANY- Mary (Wallingford) Vanderwarker, 85, passed away surrounded by family Wednesday, April 04, 2018 at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital. Mary was born on December 23, 1932, to Dr. Arthur Wallingford and Ann Downey of Green Island of Irish and English descent. The oldest of four, Mary attended the Kenwood School and was a smart, independent thinker, and a natural leader. Growing up on Marion Avenue in Albany, with her siblings Margaret, Arthur and David, she was known to question the status quo, sneak out of windows at night and enjoy her slightly rebellious teen years with her many friends and admirers. But she was also a devoted student and daughter and made time to babysit her baby brother David. She loved reading and poetry (Emily Dickinson was her favorite), music (piano) and sports, especially field hockey, and was an excellent swimmer and skier. At 5ft 2” she was a deceptively tough, tenacious, and natural athlete. She enjoyed summers water skiing, boating, and going to the track and Brown’s Beach with her siblings and friends at their “camp” on Saratoga Lake.

Mary attended Manhattanville College where she was known as “Wally” and majored in Russian and Education. After college she wistfully declined a scholarship for graduate school at Georgetown to move back home and help her ailing mother. Mary was the class president at Manhattanville and made many wonderful friends there. In her youth she had numerous glamorous adventures including a summer in Europe after graduation, a honeymoon trip to Bermuda and several trips to Mexico to stay with her Manhattanville friend, as well as dancing with President John F. Kennedy when he was still a senator.

After college Mary got her Master’s in Education and married Thomas F. Conneally, Jr. from Great Barrington, MA. Mary and Tom adopted 2 daughters, Anne and Patty. Mary and her young family enjoyed winters at their ski chalet in Vermont as well as annual trips to Florida and Cape Cod. Mary started her 30+ year teaching career in Newton, MA and taught primary school and kindergarten in the Albany Public School district for many years. She was a dedicated teacher who involved herself deeply in the often difficult and impoverished lives of her students, advocating for them, supporting their families, teaching them to read and bringing them the innocent joys of childhood wherever possible. She was also very involved in the community and participated in charity events, modeled in fashion shows, volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, was a Eucharistic minister and hosted many Latin American high school and college students at her home throughout the years.

After her husband Tom passed away tragically at the age of 40, Mary found love again with Paul C. Vanderwarker of Guilderland. She and Paul enjoyed many wonderful years together until his passing in 2017. They enjoyed raising teenagers, and taking spontaneous picnics and road trips, they especially loved Cape Cod and Maine. Mary’s love of education never wavered, and she even took Japanese language and violin lessons in her 60’s. As the unofficial grandparents of Cardinal Avenue, they adopted many friends and neighbors (whether they liked it or not) in their tight-knit community. Mary has grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many devoted nieces and nephews who, like her loving, brothers and sister, and sisters-in-law were incredibly good to her- visiting, bringing her clothing, home-cooked treats, books, blankets, radios, anything to make her feel loved. She was truly blessed.

She is survived by her daughters Anne Conneally (Marisa Fiester) of Albany and Mary Pat Radeka (Dejan) of Middletown, RI; her grandchildren Eliza, Emma and Tristan: siblings Margaret A. Wallingford, Dr. Arthur J. Wallingford (Graceann), and David T. Wallingford (Helene); and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday, April 9 at 11:30 am in the Convent of Mercy Chapel, 634 New Scotland Ave. Albany. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Interment will be held privately in the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may send donations to www.ASPCA.org.

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