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Mary Buckingham Van Wie JohnsonDecember 18, 2003
Brunswick Mary B. Van Wie Johnson, 80, of Troy, died Thursday, December 18 at Samaritan Hospital after a brief illness brought on by undetected colon cancer. She was in the company of her family, including her husband, Richard C. (Dick) Johnson of Troy.
Born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania in 1923, she was the middle and last surviving child of Ruth (Ohnmacht) and Edwin Byron Buckingham. She graduated from Fell Township (Pa.) High School in 1941. She was a people person who remained close to siblings, their spouses and children, and kept in lifelong. touch with family and friends from her childhood, schooling, career and civic commitments.
Mary was a secretary for law firms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and New York State legislators. As a young mother in Troy she was an active volunteer for the Junior League, which recently named her a sustainer member emerita. She ran a Rensselaer County campaign office for Nelson Rockefeller during his last run for Governor of New York. For many years she was a licensed real estate broker. She studied and qualified for her insurance broker's license in 1989, following the death of her husband, J. Allen Van Wie, Jr. She owned and operated J.A. Van Wie Insurance, an independent agency founded by Allen's father in 1902, until she retired in 1992. Son Douglas continues the business, now associated with Nicoll & MacChesney Insurance.
She married J. Allen Van Wie, Jr. in Troy in 1953. At the time she sold pots and pans to couples whose engagement or marriage announcements appeared in local papers. Mary and Allen met in the cafeteria of the Troy Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) where she stayed, and he, no fool, often ate! They raised their four children in Brunswick. She taught them -- and many of their friends to care about others, love learning, and put their beliefs and ideas into action.
In 1990, Mary again found love a la mode, at Duncan's Dairy Bar in Brunswick, where she met Dick Johnson, also widowed. They married in 1995. Dick introduced her to international bench rest target shooting, and she became a crack shot and avid co-competitor, until her vision failed in 1994.
Mary's door was always open to family, friends and neighbors, many of whom gathered in May to celebrate her eightieth birthday with memories and character
sketches. "Mary had more life and more snap than anyone I ever met," said realtor Wally Bryce. He brought down the house describing how she once promised him one handstand and one cartwheel for every sale she made -- then delivered eleven of each in front of the whole office on a single day. She loved babies, blackjack, crosswords,parties, bad jokes, and good company.
Besides her husband Dick Johnson and son Douglas Edwin Van Wie, both of Troy, she is survived by son David Allen Van Wie and Cheryl Bascomb of New Gloucester, Maine and daughters Susan Van Wie Kastan of New York City, and Nancy Elizabeth Van Wie and Edward Mrozik, Jr., of Warrensburg, New York; step-daughter Joanne Skerritt and William Skerritt of Troy; grandchildren Marina Kastan of New York, Rosa Phillips Van Wie and Garrett Allen Van Wie; and Kory Weaver and wife Michelle of Poestenkill; and great-grandson Justin Weaver. Her brothers-in-law Russell T. White and Joseph Gudaitis, and sisters-in-law Catalina Buckingham and Helen Landauer also survive, as do many nieces and nephews.
The family will receive callers on Friday, Dec. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. 276 Pawling Ave in Troy. The funeral service will be Saturday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. at the same location.
They respectfully request that in lieu of flowers, friends consider charitable gifts in Mary's memory to the Silver Bay Association, Silver Bay, NY 12874, or to the Northeast Health Foundation/Samaritan Hospital, 2224 Burdett Ave., Troy, NY 12180.