Mary Louise (Graham) Osmers died peacefully at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs on November 29, 2011, at the age of 89 years.
Mary Louise was born at home in Vineyard Haven on January 19, 1922. She was the third child and first daughter of Susie Bell (Sands) Graham and Reverend James Harlow Graham, the pastor of the Island Methodist Churches. Mary Louise lived on Martha’s Vineyard and attended Island schools for most of her early education.
Mary Louise received a scholarship to attend DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English in 1943. Following graduation she moved to New York City and worked on the editorial staff of McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. During a temporary assignment to the Wall Street Journal, Mary Louise met her future husband, native New Yorker Robert A. Osmers. They married in New York City in 1949 and settled in Queens to raise their five children.
Out of deep affection for Martha’s Vineyard, Rev. Graham and his wife purchased a parcel of land during the 1920s in Lambert’s Cove. They negotiated relocation of Tut Chase’s blacksmith shop from the Middletown area of West Tisbury to the land, with the dream of converting it to a summer residence. In the mid-1930s Rev. Graham was called off-Island to Calgary Methodist Church in Middletown, Rhode Island. During the 1940s Rev. Graham was called back to the Island Methodist Ministry and the Graham family resided in the parsonage near the Methodist Camp Meeting Association Campground in Oak Bluffs.
Rev. Graham and Susie Bell then realized their dream of expanding the blacksmith shop into a summer-house, which they named Grahaven. Grahaven was a beloved place for Mary Louise. To this day, Grahaven has retained its original character and is in the care of her family.
Mary Louise will be remembered by her family and friends for her gentle and kind nature as well as her literary intellect and accomplishments in music, teaching, and handiwork. As a young mother she patiently taught embroidery to neighborhood children in her living room, and sewed and knitted her children’s clothing. She then earned a teaching certificate and was a well-loved third grade teacher for more than 25 years.
Her affinity for church music led her to be an organist for Sunday services at Blessed Sacrament Church and North Presbyterian Church in Queens for more than 30 years, and she sang with the Oratorio Society of Queens for 30 years. Regular attendance at Wednesday evening Community Sing in the Tabernacle was another expression of her love for music. She was an avid reader, rapid solver of the N.Y. Times Sunday Crossword, and a passionate daily viewer of Jeopardy! She had a special life-long fondness for cats.She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Robert, her son Christopher of West Tisbury, daughters Ellen of Dover, Susan of Sturbridge, and Anne Marie of Elmont, N.Y., and grandchildren John, Robert, Otto, Julie, Kayla, Nevin, and Alyssa. She was predeceased by her brothers James, Robert, and John, her sister, Ruth, her grandson Andrew, and her son Thomas. Donations in the name of Mary Louise may be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, PO Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, www.hospice.vineyard.net or Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, One Pennywise Path, Edgartown, MA 02539, http://www.dukescounty.org/Pages/DukesCountyMA_Animal/Index.
A Service of Remembrance for Mary Louise was held in the Chapel at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs on December 19, 2011, at 1 pm. A Memorial Mass was held in Bayside, N.Y., at Blessed Sacrament Church on January 21, 2012, at 10:45 am, with reception at the church following.
Arrangements were under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.