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WORCESTER — Mary Charlotte (Boulia) Legacy died Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, after a courageous and hard-fought battle with cancer. She was 92 years old. Born in East Pepperell to the late Raymond and Ellen (Nellie) Dee Boulia on Aug. 14, 1918, she lived most of her life in Worcester. She was predeceased by her husband, Clarence Bernard Legacy in March 1960. Mary leaves one son, Raymond B. Legacy and his wife Susan (Sadowski) Legacy of Worcester and one daughter, Andrea J. Carlson and her husband Ronald of Sturbridge. She also leaves three grandchildren, Matthew Carlson and his wife Molly (Vickers) Carlson of North Brookfield, Andrew Legacy and Mary Katherine Legacy and one great-grandson, Liam Carlson.

Mary was also predeceased by an infant daughter and her sister, Francis (Boulia) Poyhonen. She will be sorely missed by many special nieces and nephews, cousins and close family friends.

Mary graduated from Pepperell High School in 1935, where she was an excellent student and played on the basketball team. She was very proud of the fact that she grew up in the “Frog Alley” section of East Pepperell, and even more proud of her relatives in that town.

She and her sister came to Worcester to attend Becker College during the Depression and had to make many sacrifices in order to obtain their degrees. She graduated in 1936. Reared by a forward-thinking mother that believed every woman should be able to support herself, Mary was never given an option as to whether she would continue her education and get a good job. During World War II, she worked at Fort Devens in Ayer as an executive secretary. She also worked at Reed Rolled Thread Co., the Rutland Veterans Hospital and at the Worcester Art Museum as the administrative assistant to the curator of education. While she loved her job at the museum, she found that as a single mother, she needed to go back to the federal government, where she had earned many years of service and better benefits. In 1970, she began work at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Worcester. She retired as a senior administrative assistant there in 1983. However, she soon went back to work as an office clerk at the Greendale YMCA and remained there about 10 more years.

Mary was very active in community organizations. She served as secretary to the North Worcester Improvement Society from the 1960s until its disorganization in the late 1980s. She worked on political campaigns for many local politicians and was active in school and sports activities when her children were young. She was a charter member of St. George’s Church and a member of its Women’s Guild. When needed, Mary was a substitute adorer in the perpetual chapel at St. Georges. She was an active member of the AARP and NARFE. She was a participant in the WISE program at Assumption College and the aquacise classes at the Greendale Y. She was very close with the women in her swim program and shared coffee with them after each class, acting as driver into her early 90s.

Mary was happiest surrounded by friends and family in an atmosphere of honest exchange of ideas and concerns of the day. Her intellect and wit was an asset at every celebration where she would insist upon having a theme and a program that would bring all participants together. While some of her ideas seemed initially “corny,” they always seemed to bring a group together and provide for the basis of a very successful gathering. In her younger days, Mary learned to read Tarot cards and would entertain many sunbathers at Hampton Beach, where she would spend the week with her children and other “widowed” friends and their families. Many teenagers in the group actually believed she could tell their fortunes and would call her with updates for weeks and months after.

She loved cards and cribbage, scrabble and games of trivia. She sparred weekly with her children on the Sunday Crossword and read voraciously. She loved attending parties, going to the beach at the Cape, Maine and in Florida and traveling to places in the U.S. with her daughter’s family. Every year in the spring she would visit her friend Inez Reagan in Florida and then join the rest of her family at Disney World, where at 88 she rode “Soarin” and loved it. She played baseball and basketball with her grandchildren and saying that losing builds character, she would never let them win.

Mary will be missed mostly for her compassion and open and loving heart. She was a seasoned listener who was loved by so many people of different ages, orientations, cultures and social statuses. Her motto, “Never Forget Your Roots,” inspired her to instill in all she knew to never forget where they came from and to always accept everyone for who they were. Mary was a friend to all and a kind and gentle soul. She was a hard worker who took on the responsibility of raising two young children all alone with little complaining and a lot of love. May she rest knowing that we each hold our personal piece of her heart in ours.

Burial will be private in Rural Cemetery, Worcester. Donations may be made to St. George’s Church, 40 Brattle St., Worcester, MA 01606; or Overlook Hospice Services, 88 Masonic Home Road, Charlton, Mass. 01507.

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