October 12, 1934 ~ May 30, 2021
Born in: Bronx, NY
Resided in: Asheville, NC
Mary Higgins Garrett, 86, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 30, 2021, in Asheville, North Carolina, surrounded by family and friends. Mary was a loving wife, devoted mother of eight children, adored grandma of twenty-four grandchildren, and cherished great-grandma of twelve great-grandchildren.
Born in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood, Mary and her twin brother James were the eldest of six children of Irish immigrants, the late James and Mary Higgins. Mary was preceded in death by two brothers and one sister — Edward Higgins, James Higgins, and Judy Higgins Murtagh. She is survived by her sister, Ellen Higgins Brower, and brother, Thomas Higgins. Mary grew up on Albany Crescent, where she attended Catholic schools, played in Van Cortlandt Park, and looked forward to Rockaway Beach trips with her family. She met her husband, John, at the age of 19 when they both worked at Cornell University’s crash injury research division. They were engaged on Valentine’s Day and married two months later, on April 7, 1956. Together, they raised their eight children with love and a strong sense of family. John was the love of her life and predeceased her in 2010.
Family and faith defined Mary’s life. She loved her large family and was happiest when the entire Garrett Gang was together — laughing, telling stories, and having fun. She was the center of our family and kept us connected with regular calls and updates. Mary loved to travel to visit family across the US and the globe, but her favorite place was in the Adirondack Mountains, where she enjoyed family time taking walks, playing Scrabble, and listening to the loons (the birds, not the family!). She was a favorite dance partner at family weddings, loved reading to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and baked an Irish soda bread that was loved by all. As a devout Catholic, she found particular solace in the writings of Mother Teresa and consistently saying the rosary. She always kept family and friends in her prayers. Mary spent many years caring for her husband, John, who had Alzheimer’s, and she was a kind and patient caregiver.
Mary Garrett is remembered and loved by her eight children — John Garrett and wife Janet of Asheville, NC; Eileen Dunne and husband Robert of Oak Hill, VA; Brian Garrett and wife Judy of Auburn, NY; Maureen Garrett of Sherman, CT; Jean MacKenzie and husband Stuart of Rochester, NY; Daniel Garrett and wife Maria of Clarence Center, NY; Julia Salzmann and husband Peter of New York, NY; and Michael Garrett and wife Patricia of Sudbury, MA. Twenty-four grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren also survive her — Katie (Evelyn, Iris, and Solomon), Johnny (Eloise), and Melissa Garrett; Jason, Bobby, and Ryan Dunne (Sadhbh); Siobhan (Aoibhinn, Eleanor), Jessica (Anthony, Gianna, Shea), Scott, and Nora Garrett; Garrett, Cailin, Cameron, and Sian MacKenzie; Emily and Connor Garrett; Aidan, Geli, Jack, and Remi Salzmann; and Jennifer (Jackson, Samuel), Catherine, Emma, and Meghan Garrett.
The family would like to extend special thanks and gratitude to the staff at the Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, Asheville, NC, who cared for Mary with the utmost love, respect, and kindness, especially during COVID and her final days. These health care professionals will remain in our family’s hearts and prayers.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 9:45 am on Friday, June 11, at the Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, NY. Mary will then be laid to rest next to her beloved husband, John, at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Eddie Higgins Scholarship fund (https://fund.calvaryhospital.org/ways-to-give/memorial-and-tribute-gifts/ – write Eddie Higgins Scholarship in the Special Instructions section) or the Danny Boone Scholarship Fund for Deerfield Employees (deerfieldwnc.org/deerfield-charitable-foundation/donate/).