Weatherall, 88, passed away peacefully in her home in Ipswich, on
February 25, 2018. The daughter of the Reverend Leslie
Talbot Pennington, and Elizabeth Entwistle Daniels, a teacher of
latin, and sister to the late Antoinette Pennington Fisk.
Mary was born in
Braintree on January 26, 1930, and raised in Cambridge and Chicago
Illinois. She, along with her sister Toni, attended the Shady Hill
School, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, and Radcliffe College,
from which she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts in 1952. She
married John Hoyer Updike in 1953, and they spent their honeymoon in
a small cottage behind the Goodale Apple Orchard on Argilla Road,
loaned to them by a family friend.
After John Graduated
from Harvard College, they spent a year in Oxford England, both
attending the Ruskin School of Drawing. They then moved to New York
City, where John worked as a reporter for the New Yorker Magazine.
Two years later, in search of a place to raise their growing family
outside the city, they fondly remembered the town where they had
spent their honeymoon, with itís beautiful beach, and moved to
Ipswich in 1957. They rented a house known as ĎLittle Violetí on
Essex Road and in 1959, they bought The Polly Dole House at 26 East
Street, where they raised their four children, Elizabeth, David,
Michael, and Miranda, as well as a loyal coterie of cats and dogs.
As her husband Johnís
writing career flourished, Mary remained active raising her
children, painting, and serving on the townís Fair Housing
Committee, working to ensure that all who wanted to move to, and
purchase property in Ipswich, were welcome to do so. She was active
in the civil rights movement, and in l965 flew to Alabama with
fellow Ipswich residents; the late Reverend Goldthwaite Sherrill,
William Wasserman, and the late Sally Landis Wasserman, to
participate in one of the three Selma to Montgomery marches.
In 1970, the family
moved to Labor-in-Vain Road, a house she lovingly maintained for the
next forty eight years. She married her second husband, the late
Robert Weatherall, there, in l982, and it was there that her
painting career flourished. Her landscapes of Ipswich were avidly
purchased and collected and a large retrospective of her work was
held at the Schlesingler Library, at Radcliffe College, in the year
In the 1990ís, Mary
and Robert worked with the town, the Greenbelt Association, the
Nichols family of Essex, and with a substantial monetary
contribution of their own, helped make it possible to purchase ten
acres of open meadow above their house. Now known as The Nicholís
Field, it is an a invaluable addition to the open spaces of Ipswich,
enjoyed by joggers, dog walkers, fisherman, and romantically
inclined teenagers, who walk the mile down Labor-in-Vain Road to
enjoy the field overlooking the Ipswich River.
Since Robertís passing
in 2014, Mary had continued to live alone on Labor-in-Vain Road,
alone, with the help of her friends and family members. She has
made valiant recoveries from three separate falls, two broken hips,
and for the last six months has enjoyed a period of good health,
hosting family and friends to the house she loved. She was deeply
concerned with the plight of Syrian refugees, and supported efforts
to welcome them to Ipswich.
On January 26, she
celebrated her eighty-eighth birthday with her family at The Hart
House restaurant in Ipswich. Several weeks later, she caught a bad
cold, which in turn led to pneumonia. When they learned of her
illness, all seven of her grandsons and a wife, Anoff and Jaime
Cobblah, Kwame Cobblah, Wesley Updike, Trevor Updike, Sawyer Updike,
Kai Freyleue, and Seneca Freyleue, arrived from various corners of
New England to be with her. Her great grandson, Weston Scott Kofi
Cobblah, was also there with his parents.
She is also survived
by her four children; Elizabeth Cobblah, David Updike, Michael
Updike, and Miranda Updike, their spouses; Tete Cobblah, Wambui
Githiora Updike, Jeffrey Kern, her three step-children; Robert,
Alexander, and Helen Weatherall and their spouses. She was a kind
and generous friend to many, a loving wife, a wonderful mother and
grandmother and great grandmother, and will be greatly missed by all
who knew and loved her.
A Celebration of her
life will be held at First Church in Ipswich, UCC, One Meetinghouse
Green, Ipswich on Saturday May 5 at 2 pm. Arrangements are under the
direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In lieu
of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Ipswich
Refugee Program, P.O. Box 285, Ipswich, MA 01938-9998.