Mary E. Tormey: a nun, a teacher, a career girl, a wife and homemaker, a mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Born August 2, 1923, in Washington, D.C., the first child of Martha and William Scarry would soon move to Erie, PA. Growing up in a Catholic family, Mary loved school and especially the Benedictine Sisters. Their devotion inspired her to join the order as a Catholic nun. Her love of teaching children, especially a class of 50 boys, eventually led to her decision to leave the order and a begin a family.
While working for the Erie Times, she met a dashing World War II vet, Robert DePaul Tormey, when he delivered sports news to the newspaper. They fell in love, married, and the children came. With two young kids in tow, Bob and Mary headed to California to begin Bob’s career with General Motors. In a small house in Downey, CA, they raised their eight kids where Mary somehow found time to cook complete dinners from scratch every night, clean house, while doing laundry for seven boys and one girl, never missing packed lunches for all the kids, and still participating in church and school events. What an extraordinary time consuming juggling act that brings to mind what they use to say about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, “she did everything he did, just did it backwards and in high heels.”
With her children off in college and starting families of their own, Bob and Mary moved to Escondido CA in 1982. With her husband critically ill, and the need to learn to drive, Mary got her first driver’s license at age 60. The same year she got her ears pierced for the first time!
The ensuing years brought many large family gatherings, including her brother’s children, where her love of family continues to inspire us. Besides her love of family, her secret to a long and happy life was simple: Red wine and dark chocolate: It’s good for your heart!
Mary Ellen; one caring, compassionate, determined and dependable, generous, fun loving, hard working, inspiring, unconditional loving, and strong-willed mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. The role model for a new generation of Moms.
In her last hours, Mary had only one concern, that her eight children, Bob, Kathy, Tom, Bill, Don, Dick, Dennis and Tim, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren were all safe and sound. A very strong and abiding love of family that was deeply rooted and reflected in a poem she wrote as a student decades ago:
“In a tiny corner of heaven,
one all pink and white and blue,
and with gold and silver lining,
from the gold dust God made you.”
Now that tiny corner of heaven has a special Mom that continues to watch over us.
Requesting continued prayers for Janna, who has breast cancer.