Mary Theresa (McDonald) Barry, daughter of the late Dr. Thomas A. and Gertrude L. (Breen) McDonald, DDS, who grew up at 501 East Broadway, South Boston, died October 16, 2009, at age 89. A few days beforehand, a heart attack triggered heart failure. Mary was born July 23, 1920, and graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury in 1938. Mary spent many happy summers with her brother Tom McDonald (the Reverend Thomas A.), and his childhood friends, Walter and Henry (the Reverend Henry F.) Barry, at her family's beach house in Nantasket. On March 30, 1940 she married Walt, a 1937 graduate of the US Naval Academy at St. Augustine's in South Boston. Walt retired in 1967 as a Captain, U.S.N., and died on February 15, 1998, just shy of 60 years of married life. Her brothers Father Tom, and Fred, and sister Gertrude Whalen predeceased her, as did Father Henry. She was the last of her generation. Mary has four sons: Capt. Thomas A. (Carole) Barry USN (Ret), USNA 1965 of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; Robert M. (Doty) Barry of Ivor, VA; the Honorable William P. (Mary Beth) Barry, Los Angeles Superior Court, USNA 1970; and R. Kevin (Christie) Barry of Richmond, VA. "Nana" has seven grandchildren: Heather (Jeremy) Antonio of Jacksonville, FL; Robert (Angie) Barry II of Sedley, VA; Jason (Jennifer) Barry of Sedley, VA; Michael and Timothy (Jaime) Barry of Los Angeles; and Meghan and Colin Barry of Richmond, VA; and four great grandchildren: Blake, Brooke, Hannah and Holden, of Sedley, VA Because Mary married into a Navy life, she experienced many separations while Walt was on sea duty, not so much at the beginning though. The United States' entry into WWII stranded her and other wives from U.S.S. Omaha in Trinidad; she island-hopped back by sea plane, meeting Walt in San Juan on the way back. But the separations did come. Tom and Rob arrived while Walt was at sea. A new home every two years with her four boys and a dog in tow was the rule. They lived in Arlington, VA; Newport, RI; Long Beach, CA; Bremerton, WA; Salt Lake City, UT; Newport again; Norfolk, VA; and Virginia Beach, VA, with multiple residences in Norfolk. The male members of Mary's family died young. Her father died of cancer at 53, two months after her son Tom, his name sake, was born. Fred died suddenly at 46, and Father Tom died of cancer at 57. Her mother died of a heart attack in 1964 at age 72. Her sister Gertrude lived to this past May. She cherished them all, missed them deeply & thought of them often. After Walt retired, Mary and he stayed in Norfolk. They ultimately became "Snow Birds", spending many winters in Cocoa Beach, FL. In August 1997, Mary moved with him into Atlantic Shores, a retirement community in Virginia Beach. By then, Walt was seriously ill with dementia. Mary left Atlantic Shores in September 2008 to live with Bill & Mary Beth, in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Mary had an active schedule. She was able to get out almost every day with a home care companion for shopping, lunch and a movie. Chico's was a favorite stop. Tom and Carole visited from Florida for Mother's Day. Her 89th birthday was celebrated with a big party; she was planning her 90th. Tim married Jaime Rapaport on September 6, 2009. The entire family attended the wedding, including her four great grandchildren, two of whom were the flower girls. Mary walked down the aisle and had a wonderful time. Mary relished life and was a firm believer in "Have bag, will travel." Mary was a loving and caring mother, an active and supportive Navy wife, an avid golfer with a hole-in-one to her credit. She golfed for many years at Sewells Point Golf Club, Norfolk, VA, where she was Ladies Club Champion, and was a regular participant in tournaments of the Tidewater Golf Association. She was a keen Bridge player, a cut-throat, "speedy" Hearts player, and a longtime member of the Altar Guild for the Chapel at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base. She will be greatly missed by her family, her many relatives and dear friends, and her garden. Mary will be buried with Walt at Arlington National Cemetery. A guest book is available at: "". In lieu of flowers, please make checks payable to the " U.S. Naval Academy Foundation", with the notation "Mary Barry, USNA '37". Mail donations to: U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 291 Wood Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, MD 21402, Attn.: Tribute gifts.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline


  1. Mom was a wonderful lady & after raising 4 boys while Dad was aboard ships in the Navy, she became very independent. She was an avid golfer, a Club Champion and had several “holes-in-one”.She had a great last year in LA that was capped with a family reunion in September at Tim & Jamie’s wedding in LA. She will be missed.

  2. I will really miss Nana, but I’m so happy that I was able to say goodbye to her and we had such a nice visit with her in September. She had a wonderful last year in CA and was able to be there to see all of the family that flew in for Tim’s wedding. I know that I inherited Nana’s shopping gene and I will always remember the fun visits that I would have with her every summer in Virginia and visiting her and Grandpa down in Cocoa Beach during the winter. I’m keeping all of the family in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. It was with sad hearts that we all said goodbye to Mom. She was such a strong, independant person and taught all of us so much. She raised four wonderful sons that are strong awsome men that can handle whatever comes their way and each loved their mother so very much. Nana touched each of our lives in a very special way and for that we are blessed. She will be missed and always remembered. Rest in peace Mom!!

  4. Tom, Rob, Bill, Kevin, You thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this time. Your Mom was a great lady but of course, she was a McDonald… It is sad to think that she was the last of the McDonald siblings (not including us). Instead of filling my heart and mind with sadness about her passing i think about the times together as a family growing up whether it was in CT at the beach or in VA at the beach or crabbing, golfing, or just being together. My family and I feel so blessed to have visited with your Mom this summer and participated in Tim’s wedding. It was a memory we’ll all treasure and one I will add to my collection of memories. Your Mom will rest with Walt and her younger brother that loved her so much as well as her sister and Fr. Tom. In due time (nothing urgent here) we’ll all be reunited. God bless you all… Kevin

  5. What a wonderful tribute – the Lady led a full and wonderful life and now she is in a more peacefull place. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Judy

  6. We were saddened to hear of Aunt Mary’s passing. She was a special lady with the ability to light up a room and enjoy every gathering. She will be fondly remembered. Love, Dick and Maureen

  7. To Rob, Tom, Bill, Kevin and the entire Barry clan, My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you say goodbye to your Mom, Mother-in-law and Grandmother. I know 1st hand how hard it is. I am sorry I will not be able to attend the services but I will be there in spirit. Aunt Mary was one of a kind and had one hell of a life! I am sure Uncle Walter is thrilled to have her by his side once again! God Bless, Love Jean(guilfoyle), Paul & Nicole Caron

  8. On Oct 15th, Nana had a small heart attack. That evening, she asked if she was dying. I said she was. She rejected the prospect. It wasn’t that she was afraid to die; she just enjoyed living too much to go. She was planning a big 90th birthday party. This was a classic “Nana” moment: strong-willed, independent, forward-looking, and holding up a brave front. Those qualities helped her thru many separations from Dad, esp. since his passing in 1998. The face mask & oxygen supply kept her lucid. We talked her thru the night. Mom confronted & accepted that the end was coming soon. Early on Oct 16th, she spoke by phone with Tom, Rob & Kevin, saying good-by to her “Darlings”. She spoke of meeting Dad, her mother, father, & siblings. She asked about the funeral plans & was glad to hear that she’d be flying back East. She wanted to be buried in what she wore to Tim & Jaime’s wedding & asked Mary Beth to “Make me look good.” She was now ready to go. I was privileged to be there.


  10. Long will I remember those summer trips down to Norfolk as a kid, visiting Uncle Walt and Aunt Mary… Simple times (they were, weren’t they?), but oh how treasured and plentiful those rich memories. My Aunt Mary passing is like a chapter closing to me. I will miss dearly that chapter. Know that all of us ‘Northerners share in your sorrow, for she was a fine and fun lady and will always be fondly thought of for being a special person to me.

  11. To the Barry Family, Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your mother – my Aunt Mary. My mom talked often of her sister and family. I will always remember her talks about the days growing up with Mary, Father Tom, Fred, Uncle Walt and Father Henry. I can only imagine the trouble they are causing now that they are together again in heaven. God Bless! Jim Whalen and Family – Brenda, Joe & Tim

  12. To the Barry Family On behalf of your father’s classmates we wish to express our sympathy on the passing of your mother. Walt & Mary were wonderful, as ambassadors for the United States in his position as a Navy Officer and role models as citizens and parents. We miss them.

  13. Deepest sympathy to the entire Barry Clan. It was a great pleasure to have spent time with Mrs. Barry during my visit to LA. You are in my thoughts and I will keep her in my prayers. She was quite a Lady! God Bless, Donna B.

  14. Mom was always and will be remembered as someone who really loved her family. She cut me alot of breaks growing up. But knowing her love kept us together. She and Dad were always there for us. It’s a tribute to them that we have done so well. Mom and Dad will always be a guiding light for me

  15. Nana always treasured her family above all else. This amazing quality was most evident when she visited my family over Thanksgiving. She would share stories, laugh, help cook great meals, and be a driving force in hearts late at night. She was an incredible grandmother to at all of her grandchildren and I will miss her a lot.

  16. My fondest memories of Mom, which I think we all remember, are her love of cooking, her excitement over a competitive game of golf, her enthusiasm when playing a raucous game of hearts, her glee in buying a great looking outfit, and her hearty laughter at a good joke- even if she was the one being teased. Most of all though, Mom adored her husband of 58 years,her 4 loving sons, their wives, children and her great grandchildren. It is an extraordinary legacy to have a family so close and devoted to her, as well as each other. We miss you and love you, Mom.

  17. I can hear Nana’s laughter now, bubbling over the voices of another Barry argument or story from the past. I hope someday to have a son who loves and cherishes me as much as your sons love and cherish you. Ill think of you every time I play a hearts game or cook a Thanksgiving meal. i miss you, Nana. ps- Tell Grandpa I say hi !

  18. Nana was such a lovely lady! We all loved her greatly and she will be greatly missed. We are so blessed to have been able to see her in September. It was an awesome time that we will always cherish. (Thanks Tim & Jaime!) God Bless you, Nana, we love you! Tell Grandpa and everyone else we send our love!

  19. To The Family of Mary Theresa Barry: We all send our deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one. She was an inspiration to ladies and has been missed since she left our area. She had a good sense of humor. She represented all that is the best of a military wife. We are sending a donation to the U.S.Naval Academy Foundation in honor of Mary. Most Sincerely The Retired Officers Wives Society of Tidewater Sharron D’Angelo, Secretary

  20. my name is paul mcgowan,my mother was mary burns,walter barry’s first cousin.the last time we saw walter and mary was in va. to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary.i was saddened to hear of mary’s passing by way of the boston deepest sympathy to all the family.walt and mary were wonderful people.sincerely, paul mcgowan

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook