Maria Eugenie McCarthy Ringwood

May 21, 1964 – September 16, 2003

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We are here to celebrate the life of Maria.  To all who knew her she was a very special individual.  We would like to share a few thoughts and reflections and memories of Maria.

She had an amazing ability to connect with people.  To give of herself to anyone who needed her.  We know that her family, friends, coworkers and the many volunteers throughout her career were all friends of her heart.  As was instilled in her by her parents, she treated everyone with respect, equally, and with kindness, a smile or a reassuring word.

As she grew up she was active, Girl Scouts, swim team; and she loved music and theater.  She was one of the first female altar servers.  Maria was ready for adventure and wanted to experience the joys of life.  You could find her dressing up as a princess or reading “Little House on the Prairie” one minute and next, turn around and see her trail riding on a motorcycle.  She loved camping with her family, canoeing, skiing.  While in college she traveled to Europe with the chorus and was very proud to have been kissed by the pope after singing for him.

As an adult she became involved at County Players when she was cast as Irene Molloy in “Hello Dolly!”  Then she was cast in “Company” where she first met David.  The “Irish bachelor” fell hard, and they were engaged just 10 months later.  To all who knew them together they were soul mates.  They complimented each other beautifully.  She was his leading lady.

After acting on stage for so many years, Maria took on the most rewarding role of her life, that of mommy.  First with Liam, then three years later with Grace, she became the best mom, and strove to bring out the best in her family.  She planned birthday parties, holidays, and family trips – everything to encourage the growth and development of her children to give them the most solid foundation for their futures.  She adored them.

When Liam became old enough for Kindergarten this fall, she researched and visited schools, talked to parents, investigated bus routes and daycare options.  And it was just about two weeks ago that Maria was there, on Liam’s first day of school, watching him get on the school bus.  She cried that she was losing her “baby”, but proud that he was confident and secure enough in himself to get on that bus for the first time without looking back.

This past year was so remarkable for Maria.  She had adventures and down home time with family and friends.

While visiting in North Carolina last summer she tried hang gliding.  Last December she took the three children (David, of course, being the oldest) on their first family trip to Disney World.  She saw many members of the Ringwood family and the Boston cousins at Kathleen’s birthday party in July.  In August it was the Hennessy Family Reunion.

There were camping trips to Chenango Forks for Memorial Day, and Hershey Park on the 4th of July.  There was the stay at the “Daniel Boone Hunting Lodge in August.  And of course Labor Day weekend at the shore.

Most memorable for Maria was her “adventure” with Rathi to Peru in May. She flew to Lima on her own, met up with the small band of travelers, and stayed with local families on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.  And most importantly, she climbed to the ancient city of Machu Picchu.  Maria was the oldest of the group, and although her guide had to carry her daypack on the last half of the ascent, she made it to the top.  She was so impacted by her achievement.  She was reenergized, more confident in herself, and she felt that there was nothing she couldn’t accomplish if she really wanted it.

The day after she got back she was again “super mom,” again organizing swim, daycare and pick-up schedules, and working full time.

Maria had always wanted to work where she was helping others.  We remember her years at United Way and at the Vassar Hospital Foundation.

At the foundation office she was instrumental in working on their annual gala, and she was very proud that it is considered the benchmark event in the region.  The gala this year is being held this very evening, and the event will undoubtedly be the celebration she intended.  The Vassar Foundation and volunteers will honor Maria this evening for her hard work and dedication.

Maria was a practical no frills kind of girl but she was very sentimental about family things.  She cherished family heirlooms from her ancestors and from David’s family.  These were the things of family love, family history.

Maria’s Dad adds this personal note:

Our precious little baby girl – I’d make noises on a guitar and sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” to her.  Then she got old enough to sing it herself.  We sang it again around a campfire. And of course she would play and sing it better than I ever could.  So that was the song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” we danced to at her wedding… David sang it.  Now I sing it again to her beautiful children and I hear her singing along, more beautiful than ever.

And so, we celebrate the life of Maria Eugenie McCarthy Ringwood.  And we know that we are all blessed by having her in our lives, for knowing her, and for receiving her love.  Though no words can describe the depth of our sadness in her passing, one quote stands out:  “All who have been touched by beauty are touched by sadness with it’s passing.”  And Maria was a truly beautiful individual, and we will sadly miss her.

And now, some 18 years after her successful singing debut for the Pope, we are proud to know that Maria has been called to sing her songs for God.  We just want her to know that the song “He Lifts Us Up on Eagles Wings” will always be “Maria’s Wings” in our hearts from this day forward.

And now, as in the theatre – to show our appreciation of an outstanding performance and an outstanding life – please join us for a standing ovation for Maria.