Mary Ann Valaitis Whaley
Mary Ann Valaitis Whaley, beloved wife of Fred Whaley and mother of Rachel Valaitis, passed away July 29 in Belfast at the age of 74 after a valiant struggle with cancer. Born Nov. 24, 1939, in Buffalo, N.Y., the middle child of George and Dorothy Miller, her father was a sound engineer and her mother a homemaker. It was a musical family. Her grandfather, father, and sister played violin, and Mary Ann, a gifted mezzo soprano, studied piano and voice and sang in high school choral and theatrical groups.
After graduating from Kenmore High School in 1957, she attended the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and from there, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where she received an Artist’s Diploma in voice. She spent summers on the musical theater circuit performing roles in many classic American musicals. While a student in Philadelphia, she met her future husband, Vygantas Valaitis, who was attending the University of Pennsylvania. After marriage, they spent a year in Munich, Germany, then moved to Rowley, Mass., where their daughter Rachel was born.
Mary Ann taught voice at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., and was on the voice faculties of the University of Maine at Orono, Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and the Fredonia School of Music in Fredonia, N.Y.
Her gift of singing allowed her to travel the world performing in Russia, Japan, and Germany. In Boston, she was soloist and chorus member of the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Opera Company, the Boston Schola Cantorum, and Emanuel Music, and in Maine, The Surry Opera Company and the Blue Hill Music Festival.
She and her present husband Fred Whaley, the retired Director of Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, N.Y., had a happy life in Stockton Springs where they were members of the St. Margaret Episcopal Church and the Penobscot Bay Singers, as well as other community organizations.
Mary Ann is survived by her husband Fred Whaley and daughter Rachel Valaitis, both of Stockton Springs, brother George Miller of Kenmore, N.Y., sister Jane Freeman of Purdys, N.Y., stepsons Clark Whaley of Sparta, N.J., and Todd Whaley of Las Vegas, Nev., and five nephews.
She will be dearly missed and remembered by her family and hosts of friends for her magnificent voice, her beautiful gardens, and her wonderful sense of humor and love of life.
A memorial service honoring the life of Mary Ann Valaitis Whaley will be held at St. Margaret's Church in Belfast on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m. A reception will follow in the parish hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation by mail;
IBC Research Foundation, P.O.Box 2805, West Lafayette, IN 47996 Or online at www.ibcresearch.org.
Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast.