Mary Cary Rea

SCARBOROUGH — Mary Cary Rea, 98, died peacefully at the Holbrook Health Center, Piper Shores Retirement Community, Scarborough, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.

She was born on Dec. 30, 1916, in Ridgewood, N.J., the daughter of Charles Austin Cary and Frances Campbell Cary. Although Mary lived in several different states as a child, moving with every promotion her father earned with the DuPont Co., summers were spent in Maine with family in Cherryfield, Machias, Pond Island and finally on her beloved Trafton Island, which she and her brother purchased in 1947.

She graduated from Stamford (Conn.) High School in 1934, Northampton School for Girls in 1935 and from Smith College in 1939. At Smith, she majored in geology so that she could “wear blue jeans and go on college-sponsored geology trips out west.” In 1938, she and some friends biked through Europe for part of the summer on the eve of WWII. For nearly 50 years, she served as president of her Smith College Class of ’39.

Mary met her husband, the late James C. Rea Jr., in 1939 while volunteering with the Grenfell Mission in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. They were married Feb. 15, 1941 in Wilmington, Del. After WWII the couple moved to Colorado to try cattle ranching. In 1953, they moved to Cartersville, Va., and continued farming and raising polled Hereford cattle. In Virginia, she was state president of the Virginia Lung Association and an active volunteer docent at the Virginia Museum in Richmond.

In 1983, Mary and Jim moved to Yarmouth. She became involved with the Colonial Dames serving as president of the Tate House Chapter in Portland. She was a founding board member of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, for which she had an undying passion. When she retired from the board she continued to serve on the lands committee until she was no longer able to go to meetings.

She was predeceased by her brother, George Cary; her husband, James C. Rea Jr.; and her only daughter, Charlotte Rea Stonebraker. Surviving family include her brother, Campbell Cary of Mount Desert; son James C. Rea III and his wife, Julia Zuck Rea, of Bowdoinham; son Campbell Cary Rea and his wife, Nancy Baker Rea, of Wellfleet, Mass.; son Fred Campbell Rea and his wife, Rosamond Smith Rea of Bar Harbor; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to support the land conservation work of Maine Coast Heritage Trust at 1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201, Topsham, ME 04086 or online at

A memorial service will be announced later. For online condolences, please visit our website at



Know when to pay your respects.