Mary Barrett Blake
Mary Barrett Blake passed away peacefully on April 13, 2011 in Newport Beach, surrounded by the people and places that always brought joy into her long and eventful life.
Born in Minnesota in 1932, Mary moved to her beloved Newport Beach at the age of six with her parents, Susan and James Barrett, when her father was hired to build the Prado Dam. Her older sister, Georgeanne, and brothers John and Pete stayed behind in Minnesota to finish school; soon Georgeanne was off to Stanford and her brothers joined the family in California. Living on Balboa Island and in Bayshores, Mary was present at the birth of modern Newport Beach, and grew up with the city as her father and brothers developed Port Orange and through the family business, Barrett Construction, were involved in many projects throughout Southern California. Close to Mary’s heart was her father’s role in founding and building St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island. A devout Roman Catholic, Mary was a daily communicant at the Chapel, where her funeral services will be held this week.
Mary attended Newport Beach Elementary, Newport Harbor High School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. As a young girl, Mary loved horseback riding and swimming and proved to be a formidable competitor sailing an International 14.
Mary attended USC and pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma. At USC, Mary was on the sailing team, and served as a leader in the Red Cross. She was a member of Trojan Amazon, was elected Helen of Troy and was honored with the Elizabeth Von Kleinsmid Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Mary and Michael Blake (Kappa Sigma at USC) were married in 1955. They lived in Newport Beach, raising a family of four girls, Peggy (Paige Parrish), Tracie (Brian Sullivan), Kate, and Elizabeth (Dan Schloemer), and one son, Michael (Tammy). Mary continued her volunteer work in Town and Gown, Assistance League, Girl Scouts and many other organizations.
Mary opened a store in Lido Village featuring clothes for young girls called The Garden. She served as Director of Mary’s Shelter, Director of Development for the YWCA hotel for homeless women, Director of Toby’s House for adult women and their small children, and was a member of the Crystal Cove Alliance.
Mary is survived and will be missed by her brothers, children, their spouses, and 12 loving grandchildren: Blake, Alexandra, Alana, and Bridget Parrish; Patrick, Katie, and Michael Sullivan; Riley and Spencer Blake; John and Emily Redfield; and Ethan Schloemer.
A rosary vigil will be held April 18 at 7pm, and a funeral mass on April 19 at 10am, both at St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.