‘Yorkie’ Minturn Haskins R.I.P.

Written by  //  March 19, 2014  //  Absent Friends  //  1 Comment

1917 – 2014 | Obituary

Mary Yorke McCawley Minturn HaskinsHASKINS, Mary [Yorke McCawley] Minturn 96, of Charlottesville, Virginia died on March 16th, 2014, at University of Virginia Hospital. Born September 3, 1917 in Philadelphia, PA, she was the daughter of Edmund S. McCawley and Margaret Bannard McCawley. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert B. Minturn, her husband Stanley G. Haskins, and her brothers William Morris McCawley and Edmund S. McCawley Jr. Mrs. Haskins attended the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. She was married to Mr. Minturn from 1937 until his death in 1986, and to Mr. Haskins from 1993 until his death in 1996. A resident of the North Shore of Boston from 1947 until moving to Charlottesville in 2009, Mrs. Haskins delighted in presiding over large holiday gatherings for extended family and friends. For many years she was a volunteer at the Beverly Hospital and at the Essex Institute in Salem, MA. She was a lifelong gardener and an avid bridge-player. Slowed by illness in her last decade, she nevertheless retained enjoyment in her family and friends, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is survived by her three children, Robert B. Minturn of Boston, MA, Mary Minturn Wood of Hamilton, MA and Richard S. Minturn of Charlottesville, VA and their spouses. She also leaves five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and a sister, Heath McCawley Porter of Villanova, PA. Her family extends heartfelt thanks to those who cared for her through the years, at her home in Hamilton and later at Morningside Assisted Living in Charlottesville. Special thanks to the staff of Martha Jefferson House in Charlottesville who looked after her so well for the last six months. A memorial service will be held at St. Johns Church, 705 Hale St., Beverly Farms, MA at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex St., Salem, MA 01970-1876. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com.
Published in The Boston Globe on Mar. 26, 2014

David and I send you our heartfelt sympathies.  Losing the person who gave you life is, to me, the most wrenching of all losses and all the expressions of sympathy seem so inadequate. Perhaps Fiona’s reaction says it best “May Aunt Yorkie enjoy the reunion with those spirited souls who have gone before”. I know that she will be surrounded by so many who loved her and who have been waiting for her to join them.
Yorkie was an extraordinary person whom we loved dearly. I only wish that I could offer you all the same strength and consolation that she gave to me when Mum died.
She had a wonderful life and so adored – and was proud of – her children. And you reciprocated, especially in her later years.
What a grande dame she was.
Wise and funny, elegant and always direct. Generous to a fault with her time and so very kind to everyone around her. There was an aura of inclusiveness, wherever she was.  Some of my happiest memories are of the family gatherings for Thanksgiving or Christmas around the beautifully set and literally groaning board. Often slightly chaotic with the multiple generations, dogs underfoot, traffic jams in and out of the kitchen  – and she presided over all with a marvelous combination of serenity and sense of humour.  She also had the gift – which she shared with Mum – of creating beauty and a sense of harmony indoors and outdoors, wherever she lived. There was  always a feeling of coming ‘home’ when we drove up to the house.
My memories  span my entire life, going back to an early Christmas in Philadelphia  (I think just after the War, when we were living in Washington) that we spent at the house where your family were living, I don’t remember much about the house, except that it seemed very large, but there was a huge Christmas tree and lots of children (probably Mitchells)  and it was so warm and – comforting.   Being an only child had its privileges, certainly, but how I loved being part of The Family!
I loved Yorkie very much; she was always so good to me (and later to David, Fiona and Marc) and filled an important intergenerational gap, given how much older my own mother was. There was almost nothing we couldn’t (and didn’t) talk/gossip about, including her sometimes sharp comments about  the idiosyncrasies of other members of the family (!) embellished by her encyclopedic knowledge of all the family interconnections –a trait she inherited from Uncle Ted/your grandfather.How I miss those days and the physical proximity of family.

Robbie Minturn sand Yorkie at Mary's wedding

By Molly Minturn

A couple weeks before she died, my grandmother told me about her honeymoon, which started on the SS Normandie. Through a friend of a friend, she and my grandfather ended up in first class, and my grandmother admired movie stars at dinner.
“Which ones?” I asked.
My grandmother looked at her hands for a moment. “Anna May Wong,” she said, her voice clear. “It was the damndest thing that she didn’t get the lead in The Good Earth.”
I visited her every Sunday for the last four years of her life. Some weeks she had little to say, other weeks we would travel back to the 30s and 40s. I would ask dumb questions and she would tell long stories. “Tell me about Thanksgivings when you were a girl. Did you help your mother bake pies?”
“God, no. We had a cook!”
My grandmother spoke like Katharine Hepburn. She had secrets. She was born in 1917. I didn’t think she would ever die.
I was scared to ask her anything serious, or tell her anything too real about my own life. Others in the family were different. My uncle, her eldest son, married his (male) partner late last year. On Christmas day, we gathered in her room. Grandmum had just passed out cards to all of us with little pictures of LL Bean slippers she had painstakingly cut out of the catalog (to say the slippers were on their way to all of us).
My uncle broke the news to her.
“Are you kidding me?” was her first response. My brother and I winced and wished for bourbon.
“No, I am quite serious,” was his response.
There was a tiny silence and then my grandmother raised her head, looked my uncle in the eyes, and said, “Well, that’s just marvelous. Congratulations. We will have to order one more pair of slippers.”
In a WASP family, it does not get much more emotional than that.

One Comment on "‘Yorkie’ Minturn Haskins R.I.P."

  1. Chris Otto August 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm ·


    Perhaps you can help me. I have a blog titled Papergreat, about books and ephemera, and today I wrote a post that discusses the McCawley family. You can read it here: http://www.papergreat.com/2016/08/she-was-proud-of-her-father-bookseller.html

    This book that is discuss was once written in by Heath McCawley, who I think might still be alive today.

    If she is, I would *love* to get this book into the hands of her or one of her relatives. I wanted to check with you first and see if you might have any ideas on how I might begin getting in touch with them.

    I can be reached at chrisottopa@gmail.com

    Peace and best wishes,

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