Mary Louise "Mame" Willey

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Hanover, N.H. — Mary Louise "Mame" Willey died in the presence of family on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, at the Hanover Terrace Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hanover, just one week shy of her 88th birthday. Born Nov. 4,1929, in New Haven, Conn., the daughter of  Dr. Daniel F. and Marjorie (Brampton) Harvey, she grew up in Hartford, Conn.

After graduating with honors from Vassar College in 1951, Mame married Frederick W. Willey and then moved to Cambridge, Mass., where they raised their two children. She taught English and Creative Writing at Bentley College, Wellesley College, the University of Massachusetts at Boston and, upon moving to Vermont, taught Poetry in Dartmouth College's Lifelong Education Program, ILEAD/Osher, for the past 17 years.

A lifelong learner, she received her MA in English at the age of 50 from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and, at 70, her MFA in poetry from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. She was passionate about writing, both fiction and poetry, and  shared her passion through her teaching, inspiring many other writers. Her fiction has appeared in several journals, among them The Hudson Review, The Mississippi Review, Hanging Loose and Colorado Quarterly. Her poetry has been published by journals including Blueline, California Quarterly, Hunger Mountain, Entelechy International, Slant, and Hanging Loose. In 2011 she published her second poetry collection, On the Irreversibility of Time.

Since childhood she enjoyed spending summers in South Strafford, Vt., and in 2002 left Somerville, Mass., to become a year-round resident. In 2013 she moved to The Greens in Hanover, where she has lived since. Besides her poetry, writing and teaching, she enjoyed her beloved dogs, attending plays, operas and movies, animated political discussions and cutthroat games of Scrabble.

She is survived by a son, Peter F. Willey of Somerville; a daughter, Katie A. Shaw and her husband, Mark of Strafford, Vt., two sisters, Anne Kulak of Scotia, N.Y. and Marjorie Purves of Worcester, Mass.; and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her long-time companion, Joel E. Henkel in 2002.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the United Church of Strafford in Strafford.

Memorial donations may be made to The Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior St. Chicago, IL 60654 (poetryfoundation.org) or to Friends of the Morrill Memorial and Harris Library, Strafford, VT.  

Private messages of condolence for the family can be shared at www.boardwayandcilley.com.