Mary E. (Staples) Tessmer, 84, formerly of Gouverneur


Mary E. (Staples) Tessmer, age 84, passed away peacefully with her sons by her side on Wednesday March 27, 2024 at Samaritan Hospital in Watertown, NY.

Calling hours from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. followed by a funeral service at 1 p.m. will be held on Monday, April 1 at Green Funeral Home in Gouverneur. The burial will then ensue at Riverside Cemetery, Gouverneur. Following the burial, there will be a gathering at the Casablanca Restaurant.

Mary was born in Portsmouth, NH on June 12, 1939 to Carleton and Ruth (Libbey) Staples of Eliot, Maine. She was sister to Julia and as a sister to her cousin Helen (Staples) Sullivan.

Mary married Richard Tessmer from Gouverneur, NY on July 16, 1961 in Eliot. They ultimately resided in Gouverneur with their two sons Matthew and Eric. Mary was predeceased by her parents and husband. She is survived by her two sons, Matthew and his wife Kathy (Ballou) of Ogdensburg, and Eric of Gouverneur. She is also survived by her sister, Julia Kauffman as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mary graduated from Eliot High School as salutatorian in 1957. She went on to attend the University of Maine at Orono. She graduated in 1961 with a degree in Education, certified as a Home Economics teacher.

Mary waited to begin teaching regularly until her children got older. She started subbing as a Home Economics Teacher as well as other subject areas at Gouverneur High School. Ultimately, she became certified as a Special Education Teacher. She worked for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES as a Special Education Teacher at their school in Balmat. Later, she earned her M.S. in Reading from SUNY Potsdam and continued as a Special Education Teacher for Harrisville Central School as a Resource Room Teacher for many years. Mary retired from teaching in 2001.

Mary loved to spend time with her family. She was a skilled sewist and creator of stuffed animals. She enjoyed kayaking, baking, sewing, gardening, refurbishing furniture, and other various projects around their house and summer camp at Trout Lake. Mary treasured her trips back to Eliot to visit with family and spend time at York Beach, rarely missing an opportunity to take another picture of the Nubble Lighthouse.

Many will remember Mary as an avid walker. Mary and a few of her friends walked regularly through Hailesboro along the Country Club Road to the Jones/Weldon Road for decades. Eventually, the people changed and the routes varied. In recent years, until midway through this January she was still walking 2 miles a day.
Mary was very much loved by her family and friends. She will be missed by many.

Mary was an active member of the Gouverneur Public Library’s Board of Trustees, the Gouverneur First United Methodist Church, as well as several clubs. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Gouverneur Public Library or the Gouverneur First United Methodist Church.