Mary Dotson Cartledge, age 75, died at her home in Virginia Beach on 17 March 2022. She is survived by her husband and soul mate of 45 years, Charles (Chuck), her son, Lane, of San Antonio, Texas, and one sister, Alice Oeben, of Sugar Land, Texas.
Mary was born in Wilkesboro, NC, to H.H. and Esther Dotson. She grew up near Lynchburg, Va., and moved to the Tidewater area as an adult. She told everyone that her upbringing as idyllic. Growing up in a house listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with dogs and horses far from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Free to roam, swim in the creek, and announce to everyone when the school bus was coming up the hill.
Mary graduated with honors from both Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked as a school and clinical social worker in both Virginia Beach and Chesapeake for a number of years. Mary wrote the original grant for funding a new program for homeless students in Va. Beach, and set up the program itself. She then moved into substance abuse prevention and treatment in Chesapeake where she worked for several years. Her work and dedication to the under served in life touched hundreds of families and children over the years. She continued to help others when she retired, connecting those in need with those who could help. Helping others was one of the things she enjoyed the most.
After retirement, she had such fun planning long, involved itineraries for adventures around the world with Chuck, “doing lunch” with her Lunch Bunch “sisters”, attending several clubs and organizations, experimenting endlessly in the kitchen with new recipes and ingredients, and enjoying all her “children with fur”. Her trips could, and often did involve planes, trains, automobiles, zip-lines, areal trams, funiculars, scuba diving, and an occasional sail boat. She was a voracious reader of both books and online media. She enjoyed all things related to the home, including overseeing renovation projects and managing several rental properties she and Chuck owned. She was a member of the Episcopal church, and also enjoyed studying the spiritual beliefs of the rest of the world as well. Mary never met a stranger, and enjoyed making new friends all over the world. So many would automatically refer to her as “Miss Mary”, as she made them feel she was interested in their lives and wanted to hear their stories.
Mary’s passing has created a hole, a void, an emptiness in her friends and family that can not be filled. Her hours long conversations with family and friends will no longer take place. Conversations over glasses of wine at the end of the day with family and friends, are gone. Now; meals are eaten over the sink, because seeing her empty chair across the table hurts too much. The realization there will never again be her footprints in the carpet is a stab in the hearts of those left behind. Mary made everyone she met feel loved, special, and important.
Hers was a life well lived and enjoyed. She was so very grateful for her many blessings and privileged to have experienced so much joy and love in one lifetime. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends. Hold your loved ones close because they can be gone in an instant.
At her request, no formal memorial service will be held. For those wishing to make a donation in remembrance of Mary, her favorite charities were the FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and the Judeo Christian Outreach Center in Virginia Beach.