Mary Alicia Ware, known to all as Mary Lee, Grandma Lee, or in younger years as Lee Lee, died in her sleep on Nov. 17. She was 90 years old.
Mrs. Ware had lived in Scarsdale since 1961 and worked as an assistant teacher in both the Baptist Church Nursery School and the St. James the Less Nursery School for many years and then became an aide in the Fox Meadow Elementary School Library for more than 30 years.
Born on Aug. 6, 1930, shegrew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, one of four children raised in what her relatives described as a “loving extended family” of cousins, aunts and uncles. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in music, piano her particular skill, and moved to New York City to work in a music publishing house. Soon after, she met her husband, Dr. James (Jim) R. Ware.
Her family said she was known for her “love of laughter, mischievous humor, terrible sense of direction.” (Jim’s “mischievous humor” rivaled her own, said her family, but he had “better navigational skills.”) She also loved watching sports, spending time with her friends golfing, bowling, or having lunch at Pizza & Brew. She had a “firm association with her Irish heritage, and putting on a brogue as few American-born Irish can do,” the family said. In past years, she was most frequently seen at the Scarsdale Public Library, trading in one stack of mystery novels for the next.
“Any description of Mary Lee would be incomplete without heralding her love of animals,” her family noted. When not caring for her own family cats, dogs and birds, she would walk friends’ dogs, or feed neighbors’ cats just to be out and about with such “wonderful beasties” as she was known to say.
Mrs. Ware leaves a legacy of “loving her family, being kind to everyone, and creating a home where everyone felt welcome,” and according to her family, numbers of people, most notably kids in the Overhill Road/School Lane neighborhood where she was a mom, have written to share their memories of the “safe space” she created. Her friends have called her a “special jewel in their treasure chest of friends.”
Mrs. Ware was predeceased by her husband and is survived by her three grown children, Michael James Ware, Alicia Marcelle Simons (husband Hilary Simons) and Timothy Luke Ware (wife Monica Ware), and her 10 grandchildren, Meagan, Natalie, Greta, Nick, Julia, Heidi, Jessica, Lucy, Luke and Victoria.