A photo of Mary G. Douglas

Mary G. Douglas

August 8, 1930 - July 31, 2022

Mary G. Douglas, 91, from Newark, DE, and formerly of Chicago, IL, died peacefully on July 31, 2022.

Mary was born in Chicago, IL in the time of ice wagons and coal chutes. Her parents, Louise and Edward, were married in 1927 and Mary grew up in an apartment with her siblings Joan, Mart, and Julie (Gigi). She also briefly lived in Topeka, KS.

She remembered the start of WWII, and how dramatically it changed all of their lives. Her first job out of high school was at the Sante Fe Railroad where she worked as a secretary. Both her mom and dad also worked there, and her future husband’s father worked for the B & O Railroad, their families grew up surrounded by Sante Fe Railroad ephemera.

Mary met Robert James Douglas (Bob) at a square dance in 1950. He had just returned from the end of WWII and she wrote to her best friend that, “I met the guy that I would like to marry tonight!” They were living in Chicago and would go parking near the slag dump where you could see the glowing, brilliant orange coal dumped out. They courted for a year and eventually he gave her a piece of notebook paper folded up into a 2-inch square with a big paper clip and inside was a diamond. They were married May 26, 1951.

They lived in Chicago with her folks for a time and had their first three children, Robert, Kate, and Mary (Lou), in quick succession. They then moved to Cleveland, OH. While there, they had two more, Tom and Laurie. From there they moved to Newark, DE where Chere, Lynn, and Michelle (Miki) were born.

Mary was the consummate mom and homemaker. Her whole world revolved around her kids and their activities. It was not easy. Bob was a traveling salesman his whole career and was gone most weeks from Monday through Friday. Mary was at home with all of those kids. She also did not drive while they lived in Ohio and described massive three-cart shopping trips on weekends while her husband waited in the car with the children. You can be sure that the store managers were always happy to see her! That said she was also the queen of stretching funds; she described stretching $250 a month during early married life to house, feed, and clothe all of them.

In 1964, Mary and Bob moved into their forever house in Newark, DE. Fondly called the yellow hotel, it had 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and enough room for all 7 children. They became favorites of the Nottingham Green social set and were known to host and attend monthly poker and bridge games for decades. Mary could be found working the bingo hall at Holy Angels on Friday nights, making food for the college kids in the basement at the Thomas More Oratory, attending church weekly, cheering at swim meets, and countless other activities with her family.

She was an outstanding and adventurous cook. Her prize possession–a 6-burner gas, Wedgewood stove–held a place of honor in her Delaware kitchen after she had it moved all the way from Cleveland. Mary was well known for her baked goods, watermelon pickles, and strawberry jam. She truly knew what it took to make a home and was always willing to add a chair to the table. Evenings were often spent sharing a meal and then finishing with various rounds of cards or dominos. She liked to win and never gave an inch to her 14 grandchildren, or 9 great grandchildren.

In 1990, after various temporary jobs at the University of DE, she went to work at Ursuline Academy. She loved her time with the nuns and the added independence of her job.

Mary lost her husband Bob after 56 years of marriage in 2008. She missed him greatly, but also truly valued her independence. Thanks to the help of her children, she was able to continue to live alone for the next 14 years. A night owl, it was not uncommon to find her at midnight watching her tv, checking the Phillies stats on her iPad, and talking on the phone to one of her west coast children. She loved her family and believed that her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were the “best thing that I ever did.” She had a deep curiosity and was truly a lifelong learner. A complicated and feisty woman, mom, homemaker, and friend, she will be missed by many. She would have been 92 on August 8th, 2022.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am to 11 am on Monday, August 8, 2022, at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, 2431 Frazer Road, Newark, DE, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 am. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery, 6001 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to, Little Sisters of the Poor, Jeanne Jugan Residence, 185 Salem Church Road, Newark, DE 19713 or by clicking here.

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3 Condolences for Mary G. Douglas

  • What a wonderful tribute to you mom so blessed to had her in your life

  • I will cherish my memories of Aunt Mary and her wonderful, thoughtful, loving, and caring demeanor. She and Uncle Bob were great company during our times together and always provided friendship and support for us over the years. Aunt Mary is one of the sweetest, most kindhearted people I have ever known and while I am saddened she is physically gone, I know she is in a better place watching over us with the same loving heart. Rest In Peace blessed Aunt Mary.

  • Sending our love and support. With love. Colleen and Aunt Gi GI.