Rossyvera, Newport, Co Mayo
Mary was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to John F Walton, Jr, and Rachel Mellon Walton; she was a granddaughter of William Larimer and Mary Taylor Mellon, and John F and Anne Farley Walton, all of Pittsburgh.
Mary traveled and lived around the world, but never lost touch with her Pittsburgh roots. In 1948, she married Walter Curley and immediately left on a freighter for Madras, India, where Walter had a job with an American oil company. Two children were born in India before the family returned to Pittsburgh, in 1952, where a third child was born. In 1953, Walter was re-assigned and the family began a two year residence in Turin, Italy, arriving with three children under four. In 1956 the family moved to New York, and a fourth child arrived.
In 1958 the Curleys acquired Rossyvera, Newport, and Mary began a 63 year love affair with County Mayo, and the Newport community, which Mary visited every year until 2021. The Curleys were stewards of Carrickahowley Castle, one of Grace O’Malley’s strongholds on Clew Bay. Mary played golf in Mayo at Mulranny, Westport, Carne and Enniscrone. The Curleys also lived in Dublin from 1975 to 1977, and in Paris from 1989 to 1993, during Walter’s tours as US Ambassador to both countries. In both cities, Mary acted as a social representative to world leaders, politicians, visiting Americans and other people of all stripes who had business with the American embassy.
Mary lived a life of the mind. She was a consummate reader; she bought a Kindle on the first day they became available; when she died, more than a thousand books were found on the little device. Curious, a quick study, with a memory that never failed her, she gobbled up books on history and literature, but her knowledge and interests were broad, including world religions, science and philosophy. A skier, golfer and walker, Mary loved exploring ancient or not so ancient sites in the United States, Ireland and Europe. To be seated next to Mary was to have the best seat in the house. She loved to converse on any subject and her wry wit and sense of humour made any conversation a joyful experience.
Mary graduated from Chatham Hall in Chatham, Virginia, and Vassar College. After graduation, she worked at the University of Pittsburgh assisting women veterans attending the University on the GI bill following World War II.
Mary is survived by her daughter, Peggy Bacon (Carter), son Patrick (Jane), seven grandchildren, Kelly, Christy, and Taylor Wiles, and Joseph, William, Nina, and Ross Curley, and four great grandchildren. Mary was predeceased by her sons John and James, her husband Walter, her brothers, James and Jack Walton and her sister Farley Whetzel.