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Sep 29, 2015 12:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Marie Mulcahy, Founding President Of Hampton Bays Beautification Association, Dies At Age 85

Marie Mulcahy, 85, died after a battle with leukemia. COURTESY OF MAUD KRAMER
Sep 29, 2015 2:15 PM

As founding president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, Marie Mulcahy was always looking for ways to improve her hometown.One of her first—and perhaps favorite—initiatives was organizing the group’s Memorial Tree project. As part of that ongoing program, members plant Bradford pear trees throughout Hampton Bays, honoring the hamlet’s most influential community members upon their deaths.

A new tree will soon be added to that mix—this one honoring Ms. Mulcahy, who died on Saturday at her home after a battle with leukemia. She was 85.

“Her real pride was planting all the trees on the east side of the Shinnecock Canal,” said Maud Kramer, a former president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, or HBBA, who had known Ms. Mulcahy for nearly 20 years. “That was her idea.”

The Memorial Tree program was launched in 1989, four years after the founding of the HBBA itself, and to date has resulted in the planting of hundreds of Bradford pear trees throughout the hamlet, according to the group’s website. Several decorative benches also have been donated in memory of lost loved ones.

Originally a subcommittee of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, HBBA split from that group in 1985, according to Susan von Freddi, the current president of HBBA. Ms. Mulcahy, who was president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association at the time, believed that the subcommittee’s goal was so vital to the hamlet that it deserved to be its own separate entity, Ms. von Freddi explained. Ms. Mulcahy went on to serve as the first president of HBBA.

“She was a very enthusiastic worker and helper,” Ms. von Freddi said this week. “She loved Hampton Bays. She absolutely loved Hampton Bays and worked tirelessly to improve it.”

In addition to her work with the HBBA, Ms. Mulcahy also volunteered her time with the Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee and the Irish-American Society for the Hamptons. She also served on the Hampton Bays Board of Education for a decade, from 2000 until 2010, and spent two of those years as vice president, according to Lars Clemensen, superintendent of the Hampton Bays School District.

“I think Marie will be most remembered for her positive and kind spirit,” Mr, Clemensen wrote in an email. “She just didn’t get discouraged and always remained hopeful and positive for our community.”

The same enthusiasm Ms. Mulcahy brought to the table while volunteering also appeared in most aspects of her life, said Patrick Mulcahy, Ms. Mulcahy’s nephew and a resident of Wading River.

“I was actually joking with that the other day,” Mr. Mulcahy recalled. “Her hobbies were volunteerism. She was involved in so many organizations, always in a volunteer role. She had a great spirit to get things done. And she believed in everything she was involved with.”

HBBA members have not yet decided where Ms. Mulcahy’s Bradford pear tree will be planted.

Ms. Mulcahy is survived by a sister, Eleanor Ronning of Buffalo, as well as several nieces and nephews.

A wake for Ms. Mulcahy was held on Tuesday, September 29, at the R.J. O’Shea Funeral Home in Hampton Bays. A Mass of Christian burial followed on Wednesday, September 30, at The Church of St. Rosalie on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ms. Mulcahy’s honor be made to either the HBBA or the Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach Program.

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What a great lady!
By sportster02 (1), Northport on Sep 28, 15 11:44 AM
Rest in Peace, my friend!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 15 1:16 PM
A very good woman who had done so much for her community. Marie will be sorely missed!
By Hamptons111 (5), Sag Harbor on Sep 29, 15 10:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
Marie could always be found at the Noon Mass in St. Rosalie's. She was not only religious but spiritual and very civic minded. We were blessed by her presence in our lives.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Sep 29, 15 4:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
A truly beautiful human being. God bless her!
By HB90 (164), southampton on Sep 29, 15 8:16 PM
She will be remembered as a woman of action. She served her town and Hampton Bays is a better place because of her efforts. Thank you Marie Mulcahy.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Sep 30, 15 12:02 AM