Mary Tuthill

Our mother, Mary Tuthill of Greenport, died on Nov. 5, 2021, at the age of 107 years and 36 days.

She was born in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on Sept. 30, 1914, to Mary (Faber) and Edward Brown. She is survived by seven of her children, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Michael, Daniel, Rose and Jean, and their families. She was predeceased by her husband, Percy J. Tuthill, M.D.; her son Benjamin; two granddaughters; and two great-grandchildren. Her daughter Hope died three weeks after Mary.

Mary was educated in New York City Public Schools and graduated from high school at age 16. She worked for one year before St. Catherine’s Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn agreed to waive its minimal age for student admission, allowing her to begin nursing school at age 17. She graduated three years later.

At St. Catherine’s Mary met her future husband, a native of Greenport. They were married on Sept. 25, 1936. When Dr. Tuthill finished his medical training in New York, they moved back to Greenport, where he opened his general practice at 530 Main St.

Even more impressive than the astonishing length of her life were Mary’s accomplishments during her life. She raised five children alone while her husband served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. When he resumed medical practice at 519 First St. in Greenport, she was his office nurse and manager while being the loving mother to her four sons and five daughters. 

Mary was a brilliant and unusually vigorous woman who added a number of other roles to her already busy days. She was active both professionally and as a volunteer, and her list of achievements is long. While her children were still in school, she became the first director of the Eastern Long Island PTA. In that role she lobbied successfully in Albany for a community college for the area, later established as Suffolk County Community College.

An active and longtime communicant of St. Agnes Parish in Greenport, Mary was also a leading volunteer in Catholic Charities. She was an active member of the Suffolk County Advisory Board of Catholic Charities along with its Eastern Suffolk Community Center. She was recognized as the Diocese of Rockville Center Catholic Charities “Woman of the Year” in 1995 at age 81. She also served as president of the Suffolk County and Nassau-Suffolk Lung Associations.

After Dr. Tuthill retired from practice in 1970, Mary became director of nurses at San Simeon by the Sound Nursing Home. She left there to become the founding director of the Southold Town Nutrition Program in 1974. The program continues today as the Southold Town Human Services and Resource Center.

In addition to her volunteer work, Mary just plain enjoyed being active. Well into her 90s she led a group of seniors in regular exercise classes. She was an avid, regular duplicate bridge player and the subject of an article in the American Contract Bridge League monthly national magazine on her 100th birthday. She was an intrepid puzzle-solver who dismissed the New York Times crossword puzzles on Monday through Wednesday as “too easy to bother doing,” never starting before the Thursday puzzle.

Calling hours will be on Tuesday, May 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, at St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport. Interment at St. Agnes Cemetery will immediately follow the mass.

We, her family, wish to express our deep gratitude to the dedicated staff at San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation for the professionally excellent and personally kind care our mother received while a resident there. Also, to the many friends who continued to support and visit her, especially in the long months of near-isolation due to the COVID pandemic, we extend our profound thanks.

This is a paid notice.