“Antarctica to Zanzibar” could be the book title describing the long life of Mary Deming Torrence who passed away at Pete Moore Hospice House on July 20, 2020 at the age of 99. Mary was born and raised in India, a child of American missionaries, who then at 14 returned to Connecticut where she attended prep school and Yale Music School. She met her husband, Edgar Clifton Torrence at Yale and shared a happy partnership with him for the next 66 years. Ed was a YMCA executive and Mary raised their three children, ran a private nursery school in their home and accompanied church choirs. For the second half of his career, the YMCA sent Ed and Mary to Turkey, Egypt, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. After retiring to Black Mountain, NC they both became avid volunteers in their new community. They also accepted offers to do multi-month stints as volunteers in Sri Lanka, India and Israel. Travel was Mary’s middle name and she was always eager for an adventure. To list a few: two six month camping trips across the USA, cruises to Panama, Alaska, Norway, Antarctica. Rafting the Colorado River. Travels to China, Russia, Australia, Japan, Peru. Bike trips through Europe. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. And this is just the short list. Mary loved to write down vignettes of her global escapades. In 2008, Mary and Ed moved to Eugene, OR to be close to family. Ed passed away at age 98 and Mary lived the next 12 years doted on by her Eugene and Portland family members.
Mary’s favorite affiliations were: Eugene AY PEO chapter, Church Women United, Kodaikanal School, Congregational Church, YMCA Retirees, Sister City Project.
Mary is survived by: daughters Trish Hazelton and Nancy Atkins, son Clifton Torrence, son-in-law David Atkins. grandchildren Anna Hazelton, Leigh Torrence, Lana Montgomery (and husband James), Curtis Atkins, great grandchildren Torrence, Quinn and Ada Montgomery. They will all miss her reliable good humor, her sweetness and her encyclopedic memory of family history.
Mary will be buried next to beloved husband Ed at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be caring for the Torrence Family.
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