Mary Beirne (Kerr) Nutt
October 22, 1940 – September 4, 2021
Mary Beirne (Kerr) Nutt died Saturday, September 4, 2021 at her residence in Staunton, Virginia following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was surrounded by her family. Mary Beirne was born on October 22, 1940 in Staunton to the late Hugh Holmes Kerr, Jr. and Mary Beirne (Jones) Kerr. Mary Beirne grew up at “Waverley” and was a graduate of Stuart Hall School in Staunton and Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Mary Beirne married Robert Hasbrouck Nutt in October 1962 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton (where she was the seventh generation member of her family). Mary Beirne and Bob lived in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, New York City and Chatham, New Jersey before returning with their two children to Staunton in 1977. While in New Jersey, Mary Beirne was an active member of the Junior League and the League of Women Voters.
Upon moving back to Staunton, Mary Beirne devoted herself to a variety of artistic, educational, historical and genealogical organizations. She served as President of the Staunton Fine Arts Association where she loved the annual “Art in the Park” event at Gypsy Hill Park and the “Art for Gifts” holiday shop. She was also a proud member of the Class of ‘57 at Stuart Hall School and served on its Alumnae Council. She was delighted when, in 2012, the school named her “Miss Stuart Hall” and gave her a crown and a bouquet of long-stemmed, red roses. The roses wilted in time, but she loved wearing that crown!
Having deep roots in Staunton and Augusta County, Mary Beirne believed in the importance of historical preservation, research and education. She was a member of the Augusta County Historical Society and served as its President. Mary Beirne’s love of history extended to family histories as well and she was active in various genealogical associations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution (where she served as Registrar of the Beverley Manor Chapter), the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Edward Howell Family Association.
In addition to these organizations, Mary Beirne was an avid reader and music-lover. Mary Beirne treasured her time working at the Staunton Public Library. Working at the Library combined her love of books with her love of people. Many people have fond memories of Mary Beirne’s friendly face behind the counter and her enthusiasm for reading. She also adored attending Heifetz and other community concerts with her husband Bob, and they could often be seen sitting together in the front row enjoying the music.
Mary Beirne leaves behind her husband Bob of nearly 59 years; her children Mary Beirne Touchstone of New York City and Robert Hasbrouck Nutt II of Virginia Beach; her grandson Daniel Evan Young and his wife Laura of Waynesboro, Virginia; her granddaughter-in-law Kali Ann Stern of Vacaville, California; and her great-granddaughters Claire Emma Young and Elizabeth Rose Stern. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and her four siblings: Hugh Holmes Kerr III and his wife Ida of Miami, Florida; Sara Evelyn (Kerr) Hunt and her husband David of New Canaan, Connecticut; Elizabeth (“Tizzy”) Antoinette Kerr and her husband Buddy Swint of Charlottesville, Virginia; and Junius Edward Kerr of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to her parents, Mary Beirne was preceded in death by her grandson David Robert Stern. The family is grateful to Mary Beirne’s wonderful caregivers, Rosa Blakey and Sara Kesterson. In Mary Beirne’s later years, she and Sara enjoyed wheelchair strolls on Beverley Street and sitting on a bench reading a book by one of their favorite authors.
Due to the coronavirus, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Mary Beirne may do so with a contribution to the Heifetz Institute or to the Staunton Music Festival.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes of Staunton.
Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com
Trinity Episcopal Church
Mary Beirne (Kerr) Nutt
September 16, 2021
Mom, Thank You for Giving a Wonderful Life. Everything begins the description of the many blessings you bestowed upon every friend you touched. Never a stranger or lack of a friend, your words of encouragement filled our sails. I cherish every moment graced with your presence.
Thank you for your instruction, every lesson with love, every lecture with kindness and every instruction with wisdom, providing enlightenment and enrichment.
Thank you for grace in adding to every soul you touched and never subtracting from the light of any other. May your inspiration be your legacy and your memory always be a comfort.
Always a kind word for every one you met and a life lived to the fullest. No regrets for what is done; no anxiety for what was not; only a Present to the world; and a memory that will last forever.
September 13, 2021
My husband and I moved to Staunton in 2001 and became "next door" neighbors to Bob and Mary Beirne. What a delight they were to us, and we soon knew much of the history of the town and neighborhood through their stories. We attended many events, including lavish parties and celebrations of music at the Oaks, across the street, where Mary Beirne always outlasted me, by staying well into the wee hours of morning, as long as there were people and music.
Earl & Janet Downs
September 6, 2021
Bob and family, our sincere love and sympathy in the passing of Mary. Nancy Sorrells has said it so well and you were such a devoted, caring husband. Mary was a dear lady.