Mary Margaret Theresa Tuohy Barnett died on Friday, January 8, 2021 at Clark Nursing and Rehab Center in Clark, N.J. She was 95. Born in Detroit, Michigan to John and Mary Tuohy, she was the only child of her immigrant-Irish parents from Foxford, Co Mayo. The young family eventually returned to New York City, where Mary grew up in the Bronx, attending St Jerome’s Church and school. As a young woman, she began working at the Federal Reserve in Manhattan, the start of various financial industries jobs that she held, while enjoying weekends at Rockaway Beach in Queens with her besties, who often called her MMTT (“double M- double T”)
Mary married Bertram Barnett, of Brooklyn in 1955, in a Catholic marriage ceremony. Beginning in 1958, Mary bore six children in eight years. The Barnett family lived in Maywood New Jersey, Griffith Indiana and Wauwatosa Wisconsin before returning to the East Coast and moving to Plainfield, N.J. in 1969. Mary remained a longtime resident of Plainfield, residing in what is now the Belvedere House in the Sleepy Hollow Historic District, where she raised her family, practiced her Catholic faith, and cared for her parents, who are interred at Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains.
Mary was one of the oldest living parishioners of The Parish of St Bernard of Clairvaux and St Stanislaus Kostka in Plainfield. She was involved with the church in many ways for six decades and was an active member until 2011, still attending Mass in the front row at the age of 86. She served as the church secretary under various Pastors, and as co-chair of countless committees to produce fundraising events for the elementary school, where each of her six children attended. From Friday Night Bingo to the parking lot Family Bazaars and Irish/Italian Dinner Dances, Mary was in the middle of it all.
Mary was often called upon to assist the Sacristan in the handling and preparation of some of the Church’s most sacred artifacts and traditions. Mary took annual spiritual retreats with other women of faith at the San Alfonso Retreat House, in Long Branch, N.J. She served as President of the Catholic Daughters of America and was named Rosarian of The Year for her years of devoted service to the Rosary Society. As an elder church member she became actively involved as a faith counselor guiding families and teaching the Gospel through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program. In later years she joined Church Women United, a racially, culturally, theologically, inclusive Christian women’s movement to celebrate unity and diversity and work for peace in the world.
She loved singing, volunteering for the church, collecting anything with a red cardinal on it, knitting prayer shawls, enjoying live theater and was a member of The Papermill Playhouse for decades. She loved all of the cats and dogs her children brought home to Woodland Avenue over the years, especially her favorite brown mutt, Sandy, who came in a box with a bow.
She was predeceased by her husband, Bertram “Barney” Barnett, who died in 2012. She is survived by her six children, Paul Lawrence (and his wife, Jan) of Wisconsin, Andrew John (and his wife, Maureen) of Dunellen, N.J., Stephen Michael of Plainfield, N.J., Phillip Gerard of Hawaii, Mary Frances of Tennessee, and David Matthew of Scotch Plains, N.J., two grandchildren, Drew and Erin Barnett, three step-grandchildren, Alex (and his wife, Kelli), Joe and Rich Bogdan, three step-great grandchildren Brent, Caleb and Davin Bogdan and loving nieces Debbie Stolk (Jan) of Holland, Arlene Van der Meulen (Jan) of Holland, Cheri Auditor of Belford, N.J., and Laurel Carlucci of Newark, DE, and nephew Sanford Vis of Dover, DE, as well as several generations of cousins in Foxford, Co Mayo, Ireland.
A private graveside service was held at Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains,Monday, January 11. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary’s memory to your favorite charity.