Mary Hamlen Otis, RN, of Waquoit, MA, passed away on Sunday, August 25, 2013 at home following a brief illness at the age of 87. She was the loving wife of Richard D. Otis, MD, to whom she had been married for 64 years.
Mary was born and raised in Providence, RI, the daughter of the late James Monroe and Ellen Tourtellot Hamlen. As a child, she often ice skated with her sister, Nancy Hamlen Gibson, in nearby Roger Williams Park. Mary and Nancy were avid sailors. As a pair of strong willed teenagers, they often sailed the family’s Cape Cod Knockabout on Waquoit Bay, causing the boat to be named the “Squabble.”
She received her undergraduate degree in 1946 from Pembroke College at Brown University, Providence, RI. She later received her degree in nursing (RN) from Yale University School of Nursing. Mary was a dedicated mother, having taken up the challenge of raising five boys (as she often said) – four were her sons and one was her husband. She was an active volunteer for Planned Parenthood when the family lived in Bloomfield, CT.
She had a lifelong, deep affection for Cape Cod and often said she did not need expensive jewelry as long as she could look out over the Vineyard Sound to see her "ruby, emerald, and diamond necklace" on the horizon formed from the various light houses and other night time lights of Martha’s Vineyard. She also had many stories of life on Waquoit Bay during the mid-twentieth century, including hearing the voices of German prisoners of war on Washburn’s Island, rowing out to the ‘harbor’ entrance of the Bay, trolling the Bay’s various ponds for plentiful blue crab, and digging for quahogs and steamers on the tidal flats off the Moonakis River.
Mary was a life-long member of the Waquoit Bay Yacht Club, founded in part, by her grandfather, Arthur B. Hamlen. She was a 13th generation direct descendant of Roger Williams, founder of the state of RI and a life member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants.
In addition to her husband Richard, Mary is survived by her four sons: James H. Otis of Guilford, CT; Richard D. Otis, Jr. of Washington, DC; Christopher N. Otis of Wilbraham, MA; and John B. Otis of Higganum, CT. Mary is also survived by her grandchildren Andrew H. Otis who is in Calcutta, India under a Fulbright Scholarship and Sarah C. Otis at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is also survived by her step-grandsons Nicholas A. Lorenzana at Marshall University in Huntington, WV and Nolan S. Lorenzana at Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA.
Services will be private.