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Mary C. (Malanda) Humiston

March 20, 2020


Peacefully, on March 20, 2020 while her daughter, Sharon, held her hand and played Frank Sinatra for her.  

Mary was known throughout her life for her indomitable will, practical perspective, ability to make life better for those she loved, and inexhaustible energy (until she put her head down on a pillow where she would sleep the sleep of the innocent). Because of her honest and giving spirit, wherever she went she would gather friends who loved her and who she loved. From Newark to North Arlington to Nutley, NJ, where she and Frank raised their three children, to Toms River, NJ, where they retired, she was always planning a party, dinner, dance table, or trip to Atlantic City for her gang of friends or family. As long as she could, she sent birthday cards to an army of friends and family including her cherished siblings, nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews. When her daughter needed her to help with a baby born unexpectedly early, she made it from New Jersey to New Hampshire in record time. At 88 she was still selling hot dogs at the community Bingo games and working the voting polls. At 89 she was still driving a 94-year-old woman to doctor appointments as part of a service organization. Did I mention that her house was usually spotless, too? Like I said -- inexhaustible.

Mary was born on 23 December 1927 and raised in Newark, NJ, with her sister, Dee, and brothers Ed and Richard. Her closeness to her beloved mother was a lifelong strength for both of them. She loved going to Barre, VT to spend summers with her cousins from her toddler days playing in the mud puddles to her teen years hanging out with her best friend, cousin Connie, and finding summer romance.

In high school while going with a group of friends to hear bands play she fell in love with the trumpet player, Frank Humiston, who she married years later--although not before sending him a ‘Dear John’ letter when he was caught flirting while in the Army in the Philippines! When he came home they each knew the love was still there, and he played his trumpet for her out the car window as they drove to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.

After high school and two years of business school Mary worked at AT&T where she was proud of her hard work and perfect attendance. When she later married and became pregnant with her first child, her boss begged her to stay at the job, but Mary knew she wanted to dedicate herself to being a full-time mother and home-maker. She went back to work at her and Frank’s pharmacy only when her youngest child was in high school. There Frank too became dependent on her whirlwind of energy and diligence.

Mary and Frank’s love lasted through 66 years of marriage. They managed to plan a life together and make it come true. Together they managed all the mundane aspects of life plus schlepped their three children to wonderful yearly summer vacations, played cards, attended NYC plays, took dance lessons, won golfing trophies at their club, worked together in their pharmacy, and in later years traveled to see their children and grandchildren. Even at 90 Frank would cajole her to the couch saying, “Mary, come sit with me and hold my hand.” Their hearts were entwined, and as anyone who talked to her knew, during the three years and 5 months between Frank’s and her own time of passing, she barely stopped missing him for a moment.

Mary is survived by her sister, Dolores Collazo, her brothers Edward Malanda and Richard Malanda, and her three children and their spouses (she called all six of them son or daughter): Dr Sharon Humiston and Bob Kopfman of Pittsford, NY--both of whom took care of Mary with incredible grace, creativity, and patience after Frank died; Bruce and Terri Humiston of Palos Verdes, CA; and Nancy and Hal Greeley of Hanover, NH. Her grandchildren gave her the greatest joy and they also survive her: Patrick Greeley of Brooklyn, NY; Jocelyn Kopfman of Rochester, NY; Quinn Kopfman of Pittsford, NY; Mariya Greeley of Boston, MA; Chase Humiston of Berkeley, CA; and Cole Humiston of Palos Verdes, CA.

Memorial services will be held in New Jersey at a time when all can attend safely. In lieu of flowers or cards, please donate to the Alzheimer’s Association

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Alzheimer's Association
435 East Henrietta Road, Rochester NY 14620
Tel: 1-585-760-5400
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