Mary C. (Donatelli) Nation, 95, of Providence, RI, formerly of Vero Beach, FL, died peacefully after a brief illness Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at Miriam Hospital.
Born February 24, 1925, in Providence, to the late Antonio and Graziela (Grace) Donatelli, Mary grew up on Charles Street and later on Smith Street. Always a good student (and devoted lifelong learner), she graduated from North Providence High School in 1942 after attending Classical HS for two years. She then attended Pembroke College (now Brown University) and, upon graduation, became a social worker in the Providence area. Mary later earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston University and worked as a medical social worker in the Boston area.
In 1951, she wed Paul Nation of Dorchester, MA after meeting on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend. Together, they raised three children—Susan, Elizabeth, and Adam Nation—during a 63-year marriage.
In addition to raising a family, Mary successfully navigated several full-time jobs—including, most notably, as a clothes buyer for Hahne’s Department Stores in the late 1970’s. Mary also lent her substantial energy, talents and fund-raising acumen to multiple volunteer organizations throughout her life—especially organizations dedicated to the political and personal empowerment of women—such as the League of Women’s Voters, The Democratic Women’s Club, and Planned Parenthood. In April, 2004, at the age of 80, she proudly participated in the “March For Women’s Lives” in Washington DC to defend a woman’s right to reproductive choice. She was also instrumental in the successful bid to place a state and national historical marker in Fellsmere, Florida to commemorate the first-ever vote cast by a woman “in Fellsmere, in all of Florida and south of the Mason-Dixon Line”.
Mary also loved the arts and beautiful things. She and Paul enjoyed collecting antiques and opened “Nation’s Bounty”, their own antiques business, after retiring to Florida in the 1990’s. An avid gardener, Mary rescued many an orchid from an early demise.
Mary Nation lived a long, active and productive life. She valued hard work, learning and social engagement, but also enjoyed art, travel, good food, friendship, humor and lively conversation. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; and by her brother, Danny Donatelli, formerly of Providence. She is survived by her three children and by three grandchildren—Anthony Fraser of Brooklyn, NY; Alexander Soifer of Los Angeles, CA; and Hannah Soifer of Providence, RI.
Mary’s family would like to thank the staff at Wingate Residences for the wonderful care they provided in the past two years and the staff at Miriam Hospital for their care at the end.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to Planned Parenthood.
Mary’s services will be private. Please share memories and condolences at www.WoodlawnGattone.com.
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