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Labenski Funeral Home

107 Boswell Avenue, Norwich, CT

OBITUARY

Mary M Norris

June 18, 1945June 25, 2020

Obituary for Mary M. Norris,

Mary M. Norris, was born Mary M. MacKay, to Elizabeth Connor MacKay (born Dublin Ireland) and Kenneth MacKay (born Cheshire England) on June 18, 1945. Mary was born in Altrincham, a small town not far from Manchester England. Mary was the younger sister of her siblings, Gordon MacKay, and Barbara MacKay-Klein, who both predeceased her.

As a young girl, Mary attended school at Navigation Road School and Sale Grammar School for Girls. Mary loved to visit her “hometown” and would fondly recall her younger years growing up in post-war England, and the joy of going to the local movie theatre to see shows as a child.

Tragically, when Mary was 6 years old, her mother, died, leaving Mary alone with her father Kenneth MacKay. In 1956, Mary MacKay, only 11 years old, and her father Kenneth, left England aboard the ship, Queen Mary, making the trans-Atlantic journey to Baltimore Maryland, in order to join her older sister Barbara, who had previously immigrated to the United States.

A few years later, Mary and her father moved to East Hampton Long Island where she attended East Hampton High School graduating in 1962. Following graduation from high school, Mary took her first job at Sag Harbor Industries, where she briefly worked until moving to Battle Creek Michigan where she married her husband Charles C. Norris III (Chuck), who was active duty in the Navy.

Mary and Chuck Norris lived in North Chicago Illinois while he attended Navy Electronics School. In the first of what would be many military moves, the family was assigned to Virginia Beach where they welcomed the birth of their son Charles K. Norris in 1964. Following another transfer to the Naval facility in Newport Rhode Island, Mary and her family, returned to Virginia Beach Virginia where they welcomed their second child, a daughter Amy Elizabeth Norris-Desrosier in 1968.

Following her husbands return from Vietnam in 1972, Mary and her family made their last move as a military family, to Norwich Connecticut. Immediately upon arriving in Norwich, the family established deep roots, that remain to this day.

Mary was always involved in civic groups, church, and community theatre. Mary also loved music, and would never miss a chance to see one of her favorite singers such as Paul Anka, Frankie Valli, or one of the other similar stars of the era she grew up in.

It was probably the love of movies, singers, and shows that prompted Mary’s involvement in community theatre. When first moving to Norwich, Mary became involved in multiple theater groups. As the years went by, Mary participated in community theatre productions as both an actress and director. In the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, she won numerous awards for her involvement in local productions of shows such as Guys and Dolls, Sweet Charity and many others.

Mary shared the love of theatre with many young people when she spent a number of years as the Drama Coach at Montville High School. Mary was extremely proud of the awards received by the school for shows such as, Grease and West Side Story, during her tenure as Drama Coach.

Mary was proud of her English heritage, and her family. She loved to travel and enjoyed visiting her English relatives who had also immigrated all over the globe from Seattle Washington to South Africa, and many places in between.

During her life, Mary was an active member in Christ Episcopal Church in Norwich, and more recently Preston City Congregational Church, singing in the choir, and even utilizing her theatre skills staging shows in order to raise money for the Church.

Mary is survived by her husband of 57 years, Charles C. Norris III (Chuck), her son Charles K. Norris (Chuck) of Norwich, and daughter Amy Elizabeth Norris-Desrosier of Guilford. Mary also leaves behind the greatest joy of her life, her grandchildren, Jacqueline Thurber of Reading PA., Jamie Desrosier of Longmont CO, Alexander Desrosier of Guilford, and Charles Kenneth Norris Jr, of Norwich, and great-grandchildren, twins, Calvin Thurber and Amelia Thurber

The family invites all our friends to join them at Maplewood Cemetery Norwich on, July 2, 10:00 AM, for a graveside service.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, July 2, 2020

Memories

Mary M Norris

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Roy Bourque

June 30, 2020

I met Mary through her Husband Charles, whom I worked with. He introduced me to theater, being that Mary was a director and actress in local theater. As a result, I became involved with theater lighting design. Through Mary's direction, I won a Eugene O'Neil Award for best lighting. We worked many shows together, for which I am grateful to have known her.

Nancy DePieo

June 30, 2020

Attorney Chuck and family,

So sorry for your loss, please accept my condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Heard many stories about the love and fun Mary brought to the theater.

Nancy A. DePietro

Scott Hankins

June 29, 2020

Chuck,
I really do wish I had known all this stuff back in the day. I remember especially having a little conversation with Mary in Stop and Shop after things at church had blown up. She was actually a very humble woman. Losing a mother is probably one of the most difficult things. Love to you and yours.

Scott Hankins

Kathy Vanner

June 29, 2020

To Chuck and Family,
I was so deeply saddened when I read about Mary's passing away. She was a wonderful woman. I have not been in contact with her nor the family for many years but I have so many great memories of when we performed together in many Navy Community Drama Guild Productions!!!! Even though I was very young at the time I do remember!!! :)
On behalf of my family please accept our sincere condolances and know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely,
Kathy, David, and Joel Vanner ( Feimster)

guy d'andria

June 29, 2020

To Chuck and the Norris Family, sorry for your loss and you are all in our thoughts and prayers

Jack Norris

June 29, 2020

My sister-in-law Mary was the most important person in my brothers life,
and seen by comments made here , obviously many others. As brothers move and go in different directions, each a every time Chuck and I did get together I could see their love for each other was the glue to their of
relationship.
In our 2020 world of today and what it brings , means we all must take the time to stop and say hello to those near and far away because we will be all the better for knowing them. That was the case here.❤️🐸

Dale Eichholz

June 27, 2020

Mary came into my life at a low point and brought me into the life of community theater with the beginning of the Chelsea Players and the joy of being with so many talented people in the area. The memories made over the years are still with me. She was so vibrant, so alive, such a wonderful talented and loving person. When asked to put on a show to help raise money for Christ Episcopal Church she didn't hesitate a moment in saying yes. As the theatrical director of local high school shows she inspired many young people to follow their theatrical dreams. She did so much over the years with her loving husband Chuck at her side. There aren't enough words to express the loss that I and so many others feel at this moment. I guess the Good Lord needed her talent "upstairs" to put on some marvelous musical numbers. She was more than just a friend--more like a sister. To her family I send my love and sympathy. I love you all. Dale Eichholz

Dianne Daniels

June 27, 2020

My sympathy and condolences to the Norris family - Mary was a bright light and a loving soul who endeared herself to everyone she met. She will be greatly missed - may your memories of her never fade and may you feel the glow of her love forever more.

Charlene Hobby

June 27, 2020

I was a little girl in a black bodysuit with colored balloons attached out on stage when this woman enters the auditorium yelling and waving her hands then she stops in front of me on stage and announces she is part of the show “Gypsy” and now she is going to pop my balloons while chasing me off stage at age 10. That is how I met Mary, but it wasn’t until she was my Drama Coach where I came to later really understand how she impacted our lives! Within a collection of shows, we knew how to dance, sing, act, and we had all become lifelong friends! Thank you Mary and Chuck! It was a pleasure knowing you!

Jeff Weir

June 27, 2020

Mrs. Norris, I count myself as one of hundreds of lives you elevated through theater. I cannot count nor fully realize the times I have leaned on the public speaking skills you gave me, and I know I am never fully as happy as any time I am singing like you inspired me to do. I am ultimately proud to be but one voice in the chorus of your life. Rest easy, dear Lady.

FROM THE FAMILY