Mary Louise Giard Umstead-Moore, age 84, passed away from complications with Alzheimer’s on October 29, 2018. She was born in Pawtucket Rhode Island on February 21, 1934 to the late Edward H. Giard and Margaret Lawlor Giard. Mary and her family moved from Rhode Island to Louisville, Canada, where they lived for 9 years. She learned to speak French and would later enjoy teaching phrases such as “je t’aime” “I love you” and “tais-toi la bouche” “hush your mouth”, to her grandchildren. Her family moved back to the states to reside in Black Mountain where she attended Black Mountain High School. Before graduating in 1952, Mary was a member of the Student Council, Journalism Club and Glee Club. She would continue to enjoy writing and singing, even going on to have her own news and music programs on local radio. She graduated from Blanton’s Jr. College in Asheville, NC and then lived in Henderson and Chapel Hill, NC prior to settling in Durham where she met and married William Urban Umstead. They were married for 30 years and had one child Catherine Elizabeth (Beth).
Mary worked in several departments at Duke University over the years, including, Fuqua School of Business and Political Science. After 14 years as Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies she retired from Duke in 1996. She was loved and respected by the Graduate students and staff.
Mary was a member of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Durham where she sang in the choir and served on the Altar Guild. She also enjoyed serving her community as a Reader for the N.C. Library for the Blind. She also tutored for the N.C. Literary Program, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, volunteered as a Patient Advocate and was a certified Hospice Volunteer for Duke Community Hospice.
Her interests and talents were many; and included acting, singing, dancing and decorative painting. She had a special affinity for local theater and was active with Durham Savoyards,, performing in numerous Gilbert and Sullivan productions. After her retirement, Mary and her daughter Beth opened “Ladybug Arts and Crafts Gallery” where they showcased over 35 local artists and also sold their own art. Mary continued to paint for years and sold her paintings throughout Durham, Hillsborough and Wake Forest.
If you were around Mary for any length of time you were fortunate to experience her unfailing wit and sense of humor. She was often known for writing humorous poems or songs to friends and family for special occasions.
Her fun and joyful spirit was infectious. People were drawn to Mary’s sense of humor and positive, caring attitude. Mary always seemed to have great friends and amazing people around her because she was a great friend, mother and amazing person.
Mary is survived by her daughter Beth Hutson and husband Darrell and two granddaughters Kelli and Katelyn – all of Durham, as well as her younger brother Ken Giard of Henderson. Mary was preceded in death by her brothers Donnie and Edward Giard and her 1st husband William Urban Umstead.
A celebration of Mary’s life will be held on Sunday, November 18th from 1:30 – 4:30 at Five Oaks Recreation Association, 5109 Pine Cone Dr, Durham, NC 27707.
The Umstead – Moore family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.