HomeObituariesMary S. Cross, 79,

Mary S. Cross, 79,

Mary S. Cross, 79, Mary S. Cross, 79, died peacefully at home on Friday, February 5, 2016. Born in Louisville, KY, she had been a resident of Princeton since 1975. For Mary, Princeton was a place full of friends whom she loved dearly. She thrived on life at Princeton University and regularly audited classes there. Mary spent summers in Nantucket, and it was there that she met her late husband, Theodore L. Cross, in 1973. Mary attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia, but on learning that Hollins College intended to start a year abroad program, she immediately transferred and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris for a year. This first a dventure abroad instilled in Mary a deep appreciation of the world beyond the familiar and sparked her insatiable, lifelong desire to travel and explore foreign cultures. Before her death, she had been hoping to join her three daughters for a trip to Cuba, and was planning a trip to her beloved Istanbul. Mary was a photographer with a keen artistic eye. Among the many countries she visited and photographed were Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Burma. She spent significant time in Egypt where she was a trustee of the American University of Cairo for twenty years. She authored acclaimed photojournalistic articles and books including Behind the Great Wall (1979), Egypt (1991), Morocco: Sahara to the Sea (1995), Vietnam: Spirits of the Earth (2001), and Sacred Spaces: Turkish Mosques & Tombs (2013). Her eye for aesthetics included a passion for flowers. Her gardens were legendary and her house was always enlivened by magnificent arrangements of amaryllis, peonies, and tulips. Mary had many loves: In later life she developed a passion for baseball, becoming a devoted Yankees fan, obsessed with Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte. She was an avid reader of non-fiction (history and politics), Nabokov, and the New Yorker. She also loved spy novels and movies. Mary was hooked on political news, especially “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. She described herself as a “Yellow Dog Democrat” (one who would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican). She adored lectures and discussions about politics and foreign affairs, and she regularly sat in on meetings at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where she was a member. She loved the plays of Athol Fugard and was an avid patron of McCarter Theater. Mary did not hesitate to share her opinions on any topic from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East to how many centimeters a painting needed to be lowered. But what Mary loved most was surrounding herself with her friends; and she was, in fact, preparing for a small dinner party when she died. Mary will be remembered for her tenacious spirit, extreme candor, unflagging energy and love of interesting people, especially those with a wry sense of humor (whom she described as “droll.”) In addition to her 20 years with AUC, Mary was a member of the Boards of Directors of Network 20/20, the Princeton Arts Council, the American School of Tangier and the Near East Foundation. Mary sat on the advisory council of the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Daughter of the late William A. and Dorothy (Smith) Stoll, she is survived by 3 daughters and their spouses: Stuart Warner and David Paltiel, Ann Warner Anderson and Ken Anderson, Polly Warner and Christopher Crawford, and 8 grandchildren: Daniel, Benjamin, Madeline, Claire, Deirdre, Theodore, Eliza and Alexandra. Those wishing to make a charitable contribution in Mary’s memory are asked to donate to HomeFront (www.homefrontnj.org), an organization dedicating to helping the homeless in Southern New Jersey, the Trenton Soup Kitchen (www.trentonsoupkitchen.org), Doctors Without Borders or Planned Parenthood. A memorial service will be held on April 10th at 2 p.m. at Chancellor Green on the Princeton University Campus. For any additional information you may contact the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.

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