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/).


Funeral Mass: June 11, 2021 9:45 am

Holy Rosary Church

Hawthorne, NY


Gate Of Heaven Cemetery

Hawthorne, NY

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline
  • Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  1. I have so many fond memories of Mary. She was very caring and always tried her hardest to keep up with everyone’s news, which isn’t easy. Keeping track of the Govenettios along side of the Garrett’s is no easy feat but she made sure she did! I’ve never met a kinder soul. I am grateful to have become a part of the beautiful family that she raised. She will be missed and cherished by many. Cate Govenettio Horucy

  2. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the Garrett family. Ms. Mary always had a smile for us as we visited my father in healthcare at Deerfield. May happy memories bring you all peace.

  3. My sincere condolences to the whole family. I have such wonderful memories of your mom & grandmother, playing over her house with Eileen and everyone….. She was so kind to include us in your Thanksgivings and other events ….. Sending much love to all –
    Leslie (Heller) Fox

  4. Mary was such a lovely lady! We lived in the same building at Deerfield and I will always remember her kind words and that winning smile.

  5. So sorry to hear of the passing of Mary.
    Had many good times with her & John and her sister Julie & Ed when they rented here in Venice Florida.
    Hugs to her family.
    JoAnne Hacking
    Venice, Florida

  6. On behalf of the Bereavement Ministry at St. Eugene Church, I would like to express my condolences to your entire family. The Members of our Ministry will be praying for each of you during this time of your loss of Mary.
    Peace be with you-
    Ginny Raviotta ( St. Eugene Church Bereavement Ministry)

  7. Expressing our sincere condolences to the Garrett and Higgins families. I have fond memories of Mrs Garrett as a teenager, always asking Mike and me if we were hungry. And I’ll always remember the last time we saw her – at Jen and Justin’s wedding reception in Stow, MA. What a beautiful smile.

  8. My husband and Mary were in skilled care together at Deerfield and actually passed away the same day. I would see Mary everyday. She was a beautiful lady. I never met any family other than John. He was a very devoted son. I am very sorry for each of you during this sad time.

  9. Mary and I met at an airport after we’d both been delayed by weather or mechanical issues. With our airline vouchers, we shared a meal and accommodations and finally made it home to Asheville. I recognized her photo and was sad to see she had passed on. We made the very best of a bad situation.


Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook