New Paltz, NY. — Mary K. Strothenke passed away on the evening of September 1, 2020 at her home surrounded by loving members of her family. She died from an aggressive form of cancer that was diagnosed in June 2018.
Mary was born on November 14, 1963 at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in New Hartford, NY, the daughter of Margaret and Roy Larson. The family moved to Levittown, NY when Mary was 7 years old. Mary graduated from MacArthur High School in Levittown and subsequently received a BA from CW Post College in Upper Brookville, Long Island, NY.
Mary wed Paul Strothenke, of New Paltz, NY, on June 18, 1988, and the couple has resided in New Paltz ever since. Paul is the Founder and President of Mid-Hudson VIP.
Mary received a teaching certificate and Master of Science and Teaching from SUNY New Paltz in 1995 and 1999 respectively. She did her student teaching practicum in the Newburgh City School District and was offered a full-time teaching position when she graduated college. She taught at Gidney Avenue Magnet School and South Middle School, until her medical treatment forced her to retire from teaching in July 2020.
During her 32 years living in New Paltz, Mary was extremely involved in many events which were centered around her three children (Daniel, Luke, and Mark). She was Co-Chairperson of the Playground Project at Hasbrouck Park, which was the first public playground in New Paltz (1995). In 2019, Mayor Tim Rogers asked Mary to consult on the refurbishment of the playground which was recently completed.
Mary worked with the New Paltz Seahawks as a board member and then President for 13 tremendously successful years at Moriello Swimming Pool. She was a co-founder of the Dolphins Swim Club, which helped young swimmers learn the fundamentals of the sport. She and her husband Paul also later formed the Early Morning Swim Program at Moriello Pool. She also served on the committee to build the New Paltz Field of Dreams Baseball Complex at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.
Mary and Paul donated the batting cages for the New Paltz High School JV and Varsity Baseball and Softball Teams; and Mary was responsible for bringing the Dancing with The Teachers fund raiser to New Paltz High School, which also benefits the Baseball and Softball Teams.
She and her husband Paul dedicated much of their lives to supporting their sons and the children of New Paltz by providing athletic opportunities. They continued to follow their sons’ successful swimming careers at SUNY Geneseo (Daniel), SUNY Cortland (Luke), and Keene State College in New Hampshire (Mark). Her sons won a collective 9 conference swimming championships during their time at their respective schools.
Mary is survived and will be dearly missed by her husband Paul, sons Daniel (wife, Jaqueline Inserillo Strothenke), Luke and Mark. She is also survived by her sister Cecilia Larson (Groton, MA), and brother Roy Larson Jr. (wife Allison) (Key Biscayne, FL) and was pre-deceased by her sister Elizabeth Larson Melanson. She leaves her parents Peggy and Roy Larson (Vero Beach, FL). Mary has numerous nieces and nephews, and one grand-daughter Charlotte Rae Strothenke (daughter of Daniel and Jaqueline).
Mary was a pillar of her community and was considered by all who knew her to be a generous, witty, wonderful, and beautiful human being. She was a second mother and caretaker for many of her boy’s closest friends and many of her close friends’ children. Mary was eternally positive all the way up to her final days. She was noted for her altruism and compassion for others. Mary had a way of understanding and comforting people that was unparalleled, and she will be missed by a great many people.
A Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s church in New Paltz on Saturday September 5th, 2020 (attendance is limited to 120 family and friends per NYS COVID-19 requirements).
Copeland-Hammerl Funeral Home is honored to assist Mary’s family with the arrangements.