OBITUARY

Mary DeCroce

September 10, 1953September 12, 2021
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Mary DeCroce, 68, died peacefully in her home on Sept., 12, 2021, surrounded by her loved ones. After having been initially diagnosed in 1985, Mary courageously fought her battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma six different times for more than three decades. In 2015 she underwent a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and CAR T-cell therapy in 2019.

Mary was born Sept. 10, 1953, to the late Robert and Trieste Roma (Gallo) Andrews of Westwood, Mass.

She attended Art Institute of Boston and participated in many other art programs, workshops, and classes over the course of her career. In 1974, she met and married her life’s soulmate, David DeCroce. The couple celebrated their 47th anniversary on July 16 and share two children together: Nicolas and Ani.

An accomplished artist, art teacher and art director, Mary first started sharing her passion for her craft in 1990 when she produced and sold her own line of hand painted children’s clothing. Her clothing business evolved into decorative painting inside of clients’ homes and businesses. She also went on to become an art teacher at the Southington-Cheshire YMCA and St. Dominic Elementary School.

Mary began making her mark on the town of Southington and in other communities in 2008 through her 17 large-scale public mural displays. From 2007 through 2009, she co-chaired the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event and ultimately helped raise more than $1 million for the organization. Mary also created and coordinated the annual Harvest the Arts Festival at the Southington Apple Harvest Festival.

In 2011, she began her quest to create a space for the arts in Southington, raising more than $1.2 million to renovate the historic Gura Building into a community arts center. Her dream became reality in 2016 when she officially opened the doors of Southington Community Cultural Arts, now known as SoCCA, becoming its inaugural executive director. The 10,000-square-foot facility was an immediate success, drawing visitors to the Southington community for various art and pottery classes, performances and exhibits, events, and even shopping at the center’s retail boutique.

Perhaps most impactful was the All Access program that Mary launched at SoCCA. The multi-faceted arts program provides creative skills training to improve the quality of life for intellectually disabled adults. More than 50 participants currently take part in the program and sell their wares at SoCCA. Mary has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her commitment to the arts and her leadership in the community including the Southington YMCA’s Unsung Hero Award, Main Street Community Foundation Leading Lady Award, and the Southington Chamber of Commerce Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award. She was also selected as the Grand Marshal of Southington’s Apple Harvest Festival Parade in 2013.

Other affiliations include her four-year term on the state’s Department of Economic Community Development Arts Council, a three-year term as a Hartford Art School board member, and service to Southington Arts and Crafts Association and the Southington Art Council.

In addition to her husband and children, Mary leaves behind her siblings: Robert Andrews and twin Trieste Andrews (Roger Rau); her sisters-in-law Sandy Sibley, Susan Fritch, and Debbie Foley; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends. She was predeceased by her brother, Fred Andrews.

Calling hours will be at DellaVecchia Funeral Home, 211 N. Main St., Southington on Saturday, Sept. 18th, from 3 to 7 p.m. (masks will be required) A memorial service will be held at First Congregational Church, 37 Main St., Southington on Sunday, Sept. 19th, at 2 p.m. Immediately following, a Celebration of Life reception will take place at SoCCA. Attendees of both the church service and Celebration of Life reception are asked to dress in colorful attire, as was Mary’s desire.

Masks will be required at all events. For online condolences and directions please visit, www.dellavecchiasouthington.com

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to SoCCA at 93 Main Street, Southington, to ensure that Mary’s vision of creating an environment in which people of all ages and abilities may welcome the arts into their lives continues to thrive.

Services

  • Memorial Calling Hours

    Saturday, September 18, 2021

  • Memorial Service

    Sunday, September 19, 2021

Memories

Mary DeCroce

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Erica Lubee

September 19, 2021

Dear Friends and Family of Mary and Socca, i am so sorry for your loss. For several years… Often when I lie in prayer and gratitude, Mary has come to mind as one of the people I am most grateful for… I didn’t know her well one on one… but every time I walked into Socca for class or events I said a quiet Thank You to her for creating this magical space, for giving her community so much hope and beauty…. For the lives changed because she never gave up on her selfless vision. When I saw her in passing I waved and smiled in modest admiration. Mary, I wish I got to know you more… you will be dearly missed. Thank you for some of my most beautiful memories making pottery and seeing art.
Rest In Peace, surrounded by your favorite colors and light. your life and legacy touched all of us and will live on forever in all of our hearts. 💛🎨🌈🌻

Leslie Arden

September 18, 2021

To all of Mary's family especially Dave and Ani and Trieste and Havilah...you have my deepest and saddest condolences with Mary's passing. Though we have only spent brief moments together since I moved to California and back in 2016, her forever strength, creativity, and passion for life will stay forever in my mind and heart. Wishing everyone peace and love always. I am so very sorry for your loss.
Love,
Leslie Arden

MARGARET Waage

September 18, 2021

I first met Mary at Southington Relay For Life where she painted the most glorious image of the sun for the event. The characterization of the artwork drew you in and made viewers feel hopeful. I knew Mary painted the sun for those who shared a cancer diagnosis. I am so happy to have known Mary and am thankful for her work in transforming the Gura building and for all her advocacy in making the world a better place. I will miss you, Mary!

Todd Darch

September 17, 2021

Good morning Dave, my sincere thoughts are with you. When I last saw you and Mary at dinner in Southington , it was close to 3 years ago. It was a lovely meeting and the fact that my friend knew of Mary's local presence was lovely. My thoughts are with you and I hope our pathes crosss agin....Todd Darch

Emily Blumenreder

September 16, 2021

So very sorry for your loss! Mary was that person that made a difference in so many lives and will be missed by all who knew her. She was a member of the Tuesday am bowling league and boy did we have fun back in 1985 some of us are still bowling. When she got sick we brought food over and spent time with her! She loved her family and loved helping others ! Not many people get to be friends with such an amazing person how lucky I am to have known Mary! May she Rest In Peace! Emily Blumenreder

Sue Underwood

September 16, 2021

Mary’s passion for the arts and her vision of the Southington Community Cultural Arts Center has made the world a better place. Her memory will live on for generations.

robert deluco

September 16, 2021

Hi David, this is your cousin Bobby DeLuco,I am so sorry for your loss, she fought a long and courageous battle.
May she rest in peace and her memory be a blessing.

Karen Cirincione

September 16, 2021

I am writing to express my deepest condolences to the DeCroce family during this time of grief. This is a great loss to the Southington arts community. Mary was a great advocate for the arts. I had the pleasure of working with her during my time with the Southington Arts Council. She had vision for the Southington arts community and worked to make it a reality. Her legacy will live on in Southington for generations to come in not only the Southington Community Cultural Arts organization, but also in her art work. Her loss will be deeply felt. Rest in peace, Mary.

Catherine Michanczyk

September 16, 2021

Mary was truly a courageous woman for all these years. She has pursued many creative ventures throughout her lifetime and left a legacy for all of us to remember. Our town is forever changed due to Mary's persistence and strength to have an arts center. She has indeed conquered her goals, and will be deeply missed. We love you Mary!

Katie Nelson

September 14, 2021

Love you Aunt Mary thank you for loving me, and for being such a wonderful example to eveyone around you. Your loving marriage, devotion to motherhood, and service to your community are just a few of the qualities I admired most, we’re really going to miss you Katie