Mary Evelyn Friant reunited with her best friend and husband Howard L. Friant on May 23, 2021, a week before her 92nd birthday.
Mary Evelyn was born on May 29, 1929 in Newark, New Jersey, to the Honorable George D. McLaughlin and Evelyn A. McLaughlin, née Amberg. The family moved to nearby South Orange, where Mary Ev was an outstanding athlete at Columbia High School (Go Cougars !!) and where she met her future husband.
For many of her younger years, Mary Ev attended camp, by train, in upstate New York, where she spent summers making lifelong memories and friends.
Mary Ev received her BA in Economics from St. Elizabeth’s College, Convent Station, NJ. Mothers Footsteps (St.E’s class of 22), competing in women’s basketball.
Mary Ev married Howard on Veterans Day, November 1951. During the Korean conflict, he was stationed in France with US forces looking east as the Cold War warmed. Mary Ev traveled to France on an American troop ship across the Atlantic, landing in La Rochelle and joining her husband in the Bordeaux region. The pious young couple visited the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, leaving with holy water, which Mary Ev will take with her to her final resting place.
In 1953, Mary Ev and Howard built a home in Sea Girt, NJ, where they raised their growing family. Mary Ev and her sister Margaret were founding members of the Sea Girt Beach Club. She was an active member of St. Mark’s Catholic Church, where her nine children were baptized.
In 1967, the couple bought a dollar raffle ticket from their church, winning a ’67 Cadillac. Not needing a Cadillac, they instead took cash value and in 1968 bought a summer cottage on an island in Maine. In 1970, they moved their family to Boothbay Harbor, purchasing the Seagate Motel, which they owned for 47 years. Much of Mary Ev’s heart remained in New Jersey, where her lifelong friends and all her family stayed. In Boothbay Harbor, she found a welcoming community at her new church, Our Lady Queen of Peace, where she attended Mass until she could no longer.
Mary Ev has long served on the board of directors of the Boothbay area nonprofit Nurses Association, which advocates for people with limited financial and family support.
For Mary Ev, sport was an integral part of life. With nine kids there was always an extra glove, skates, boards, bikes, unicycle or Pogo stick and every ball shape and always a hoop. Along with her friend Al Sherman, she was instrumental in building Boothbay Harbor’s public tennis courts, non-private and accessible to all. Sometimes when she wasn’t working, she and Howard would fit into a set or two – she would always win.
Out of necessity and diligence, the mother of nine could fix just about anything: a bicycle that had been transmitted three times, a fussy television or a vacuum cleaner that she knew was 10 years older. Mary Ev was an accomplished seamstress and knew how to get by with a sewing machine like few do – she taught her daughters to sew, could mend her son’s jeans for another year of wear and if the sewing machine worked. , no problem, she fixes it. Mary Ev could cover a sofa, cane a chair, or hang wallpaper; she would take any job herself before asking for help.
She found joy in music and could find a reason to sing along to most things. Rarely did a day go by where she didn’t take up singing, and at special times she would play her 33 year old, singing for Glenn, Louis and always Frank.
Mary Ev lost the love of her life and best friend Howard in 2002. The loss of the man she had known for 13 years left a gaping hole in her life. Her family is grateful that the Good Lord took her with Howard, where they can dance and sing again.
Mary Evelyn is predeceased by her sister Margaret E. Odell and her brother, USMC Lt. Col. George D. Mclaughlin Jr.
She is survived by her sisters Anne M. Helfrich of Chatham, NJ, and Josephine McGurk of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, her nine children and spouses: Marie B. Walsh (Dennis); Joan M. Barrett (William III); Howard L Friant Jr. (Denise); Barbara E. Davis (Blaine T.); Mark E. Friant (Diana); Mary Jo Poitras (Pierre); Joseph C. Friant (Lori); George D. Friant (Stacey Miller) and Evie F. Elderkin (William); 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren and 23 nieces and nephews.
A private funeral will be held at the Maine State Veterans Cemetery on June 7, 2021.
Due to Covid, a delayed Mass and celebration of Mary Evelyn’s long life will be announced at a later date.
In honor of Mary Ev, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Boothbay Area District Nurse, PO Box 554 Boothbay, ME 04537.