Mary Carmen Earle, 98, Potsdam


POTSDAM -- Mary Carmen Ward Earle, a longtime resident of Potsdam, died peacefully on February 27th at the age of ninety-eight at St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg, New York.

An avid reader and traveler, she enjoyed storytelling, tracing family history, and, in earlier days, raising her family and engaging in a career that included social work, home economics and public-school teaching.

Born Mary Carmen Ward on May 15, 1925, she was the sixth child of Edward Ward and Mildred Hanratty Ward of Ogdensburg.

Known to friends and family as Mary Carmen, she attended Ogdensburg Free Academy and was graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a degree in home economics. She went on to earn her master’s in education from St. Lawrence University.

A lifelong learner, she audited classes at local colleges for many years and was instrumental in beginning the group SOAR (Stimulating Opportunities After Retirement).

In 1947 she married Eugene Earle, and they made their home in Potsdam and raised two daughters.

Mary Carmen’s first job, at the end of World War II, had been testing newly created fibers for the US Testing Company. She then returned to the North Country as a social worker for St. Lawrence County, where she investigated child neglect, as well gathering as pre- and post-court testimony for adoptions.

Her teaching career began at Parishville-Hopkinton School where she started the local chapter of Future Homemakers of America. This was followed by a post with the Home Sciences Division of St. Lawrence County Cooperative Extension.

She taught home economics at Potsdam Central High School for fourteen years. Upon retiring from teaching, she went on to become librarian for the Town of Waddington, NY.

Mary Carmen Earle was active as a leader in several organizations. She was a member of the original group of six who approached SUNY Potsdam about starting a member-directed learning group which became SOAR, now one of almost 400 lifelong learning groups affiliated with Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel Institute).

She represented St. Lawrence County in Three-County Planned Parenthood. She served as chair of the local chapter of AARP, and as chair of the state chapter of the American Extension Home Economists Association.

She was very grateful for her involvement with AA, which she credited as enabling her to maintain sobriety since 1976. She was a longtime congregant of the Potsdam United Methodist Church and the Canton Universalist Church.

Mary Carmen Earle leaves a wide circle of friends in the North Country as well as many loved and loving family members across the country. She will be missed for her warmth, intellectual curiosity, love of laughter and unique perspective on life, always looking for serendipity and connection.

She is survived by her two daughters and their families: Abigail Coppa (Gregory) of Wickford, RI and Susan Hedges (Thomas) of Buckeye, AZ, seven dear grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Any donations in Mary Carmen’s memory should be made to St Joseph’s Home, 950 Linden St., Ogdensburg NY 13669.

Condolences and fond memories can also be shared online at www.foxandmurrayfuneralhome.com.