Mary Virginia Marsh Lippman of Ledyard passed away on November 27, 2022. She was the oldest child of the late Iva Myrtle Virginia Davis Marsh and Henry Nelson Marsh. Mary was born on March 5, 1946 in Grand Haven, Michigan, where her father was stationed in the Coast Guard. Several years of her childhood were also spent in Chicago and Cape May, NJ, but most of her formative years were spent in Ledyard. She graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1964 and the University of Connecticut in 1968. She met Bernard “Bernie” Jerome Lippman at a Halloween party in New Haven in 1969 and they went on to spend the next 53 years together. They lived together in New York City, then wed on August 2, 1974 and settled in Ledyard just a mile down the road from where she grew up. Along with her love for Bernie, Mary was the very loving and proud mother of Molly Maureen Lippman and Margo Meredith Lippman, both of whom currently reside in New York City but made frequent trips to Ledyard.
Mary was known by many as “Saint” Mary because of her universal kindness and selflessness. She treated all people as equal to herself and made many special friends in all aspects of her life.
Mary’s first job was the “egg route,” driving her family’s van delivering eggs around New London County. Until the end of her life, she could still point out stops on the route and would talk about the people she met. After graduation, she began work as a social worker, working mostly in New Haven. During her years in New York, she worked as a magazine editor and earned the nickname “Greta,” which she would remain affectionately called by her New York friends. Back in Connecticut, she worked as a deputy sheriff for New London County and helped her parents run a busy sheriff’s office. Along with her sisters, Margaret “Peggy” and Maureen “Marty,” she was one of “Henry’s Angels.”
When her daughters were young, Mary’s primary role was Mom, and she poured herself into caring for her family and her community: Mary served as a volunteer at Ledyard Center School, longtime Girl Scout leader, 4-H volunteer, Sunday School teacher at Ledyard Congregational Church, volunteer at the Ledyard food pantry, poll worker at every town election for years, member of the Democratic Town Committee, volunteer at the Ledyard Fair, and so much more. She sewed by hand every one of her children’s elaborate Halloween costumes, took care of the cats and bunnies, ironed Bernie’s clothes every night, and somehow still had time to learn how to sheetrock the attic herself and read to her children every night.
She was always there for her nieces, Katelyn and Laura Norman, and lovingly cared for her mother, Iva. For years, she would spend Saturdays driving her children, her mother, and the late Anna Geer to yard sales and to lunch at Bee Bee Dairy. They had wonderful times together.
When her children were older, Mary went back to work at the Otis Library in Norwich, helping and making connections with people of all ages in the library and in the downtown area. She cherished working alongside her close friend, Kathy Wieland, who predeceased her earlier this year. Mary also enjoyed connecting with patrons, both at the library and those she would meet when delivering books to those who could no longer get to the library in person. In her spare time, she was always working on a quilt, slipcover, or other project for somebody she knew through the library. She poured her creativity and skills directly into the library as well, crafting vibrant holiday window displays, quilted banners, children’s craft activities, a giant papier mache chicken that rode on a golf cart in the Norwich Winterfest parade, and a Christmas tree full of decorations meticulously handmade from pages of discarded books. Mary took great pride in everything she did, but never wanted any recognition.
Mary spent the last few years of her life primarily at home in Ledyard alongside Bernie and their beloved cats. They loved watching British detective shows, going to the movies in Mystic followed by hot fudge sundaes at Friendly’s, and enjoyed frequent visits with their daughters Margo and Molly.
Mary will be sorely missed by her loving family, Bernie, Molly, and Margo Lippman; her sister Maureen Marsh and her beloved nieces Katelyn Norman (Lee Gushurst) of Lebanon and Laura Norman of Newport, Rhode Island; nieces Colleen LaBranche Smith of North Stonington and Charlotte LaBranche of East Lyme; and her many aforementioned friends and acquaintances. Mary was predeceased by her sister Margaret LaBranche and her brother, Michael Marsh. We hope Saint Mary’s afterlife will be as she planned to be spent with many good friends she made over the years hanging around together, gossiping and laughing.
A funeral and celebration of Mary’s life will be held at Ledyard Congregational Church on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Her family will hold a private burial in the Ledyard Center Cemetery.
If you feel moved to do so, please consider donating in remembrance of Mary to one of the organizations that she long supported and whose work she so valued:
Southern Poverty Law Center: www.splcenter.org/support-us
St. Vincent De Paul Place, Norwich: www.svdpp.org
Planned Parenthood: www.plannedparenthood.org