Mary Curtis Betts, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died peacefully at her home in Palm Beach, Florida on March 30, 2018. A Mattapoisett resident for many years, she was 89.
Mary was born on June 9, 1928 in Caribou, Maine, the eldest daughter of Theodore S. Curtis, Sr., and Augusta Tolman Curtis. She grew up in Orono, Maine, and graduated from Orono High School in 1945. She attended the University of Maine, where she met fellow student Bill Betts, and married him in 1950, the year after she graduated. They were together for 56 years, until his death in 2007.
The couple moved to New York soon after marriage and there had four sons and a daughter: William, Jr., Donald, Robert, Curtis and Dorothea. In 1966, the family moved to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, where Mary enjoyed living close to the beach and the community there. At Mattapoisett, the doors of her home were always open to friends and family. If you went in, chances were good you would be greeted by one of her golden retrievers and then happily roped into a game of Rummikub, a walk to the beach or a family singalong.
All her life, Mary loved music, and played piano and accordion. She sang in a clear voice and seemed to know a songbook’s worth of music by heart. Some of the songs she loved dated back to her days as a Girl Scout camper in the 1940s, and she delighted in teaching them to younger generations.
Mary was active in the Mattapoisett Congregational Church and the Mattapoisett Women’s Club, and was an active and vigorous member of local bowling leagues. Mary played tennis, taught piano, and always enjoyed visiting museums and learning more about history. In Mattapoisett, she enjoyed going to the Oxford Creamery for ice cream and also walking down to the beach at night with family members. When the sky was darkest and the landscape seemed at its most magical, they would look for shooting stars. The memory of these walks links Mary with the vast, infinite universe, as does the memory of her voice lifting above the sparks thrown by a campfire on a summer night on Bowman’s Isle in Maine.
As her children grew and married, Mary truly welcomed their spouses into the family. She adored spending time with her grandchildren, teaching them games, and was the kind of grandmother who would happily swim in the ocean at night when the moon was full. Mary was a strong woman with a fearless sense of adventure. She loved going on road trips and especially enjoyed spending time in the canyons of Sedona, Arizona, where, as a lifelong seeker of spiritual knowledge and growth and member of the Inner Peace Movement, she explored both the physical and the spiritual landscapes.
Mary lived her long life well, and cherished her family, friends and many special places. She will be missed by sons William Jr, and his wife Sharon, of Kinnelon, N.J.; Donald, and his wife Martha Antaya, of Warren, R.I.; Robert, and Ellen Brady, of Mashpee, MA; Curtis, and Sally Johnson of Riverside, R.I. and daughter Dorothea and Robert Daniel, of Las Vegas, NV. She also is survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends, as well as her sisters, Edith Curtis of Moscow, Idaho and Peggy MacDonald of Augusta, Maine. She was predeceased by her husband, her parents and her younger brother, Ted Curtis, Jr., of Orono, Maine.
Her memorial service will be held June 9, at 10:00 am, at Ned’s Point Light, Mattapoisett.