Alumni Stories

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Mary Katherine Pustinger Roberts

Class of 1944


My name is Arthur Roberts. I am forwarding the Obituary below because it may be of interest to some of your Alumni. Mom had kept in touch with some of her classmates, like Bonnie Briggs, but we have lost track of them.

Of course I am rather biased, none the less I believe mom had a great career and brough credit to her family, to her town, Winsted, and to her school, The Gilbert School. She may be worthy of your Distinguished Alumni recognition.

By the way, I am not sure of the graduation year. Please contact me with any questions or if I can help in any way.

One more thing, over the years Mom had mentioned one or another of the Nader boys from time to time so I couldn't help including the mention of them as sort of a time and cultural referance.

Mary Roberts; RN, A. S., Nursing; B. S., Nursing; M. A., Nursing Administration,
October 27, 1926 to Oct 17, 2012

Mary Katherine Pustinger Roberts was a Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister, and friend to many but her most defining characteristic was that she was a nurse and that was important to her.

Born in Springfield, MA on Oct. 27, 1926 to John C. and Clara Pustinger of Winsted, CT. Mary is survived by a younger brother, Richard, of Tolland, MA. Jeanne, Mary’s younger sister, passed away earlier this year and a younger brother, Johnny, was killed in the late 50’s when a Navy sea plane hit a wall at Norfolk Naval Air Station.

“The Depression” was hard in their small industrial town in northwest Connecticut. Clara Pustinger worked at the Red Cross and the 5 & 10 cent store. John, who had lost his trucking company early in “The Depression”, found work, and a career, at the Carnell Company.

“The Lake”, Highland Lake, was where Mary and her siblings learned to swim and row and where Mary once got a ride in a plane that could land on the lake. Mary rowed well into the 21st century and never forgot that plane ride.

The war started while Mary was in high school at The Gilbert School in Winsted. All of Mary’s siblings went there, and so did the Nader boys. With the war still on, Mary enrolled in the Joseph Lawrence School of Nursing in New London, CT. According to family legend, one night in New London, in 1945, the head nurse said to the students, “you have been invited to a dance at the USO and you will attend” and that is how Mary met Arthur Thatcher Roberts of Oskaloosa, Iowa. On January 3, 1946, Mary and Art rode the train to Baltimore and married at Mt. Vernon Place Untied Methodist Church.

When the Navy released Seaman Roberts, Art and Mary moved to Oskaloosa where a daughter, Cheryl Anne, was born late in 1946. Jobs were hard to come by so after trying to make it in business with a Navy Buddy, Pat Padget (who was married to Art’s cousin Skeeter) Mary and Art moved to Winsted. When that didn’t work either, Art joined the Army and their small family moved to Ft. Knox, KY where sons Arthur T and Stephen Craig were born.

The Army sent the Roberts Family to the Philippine Islands where Linda Susan Roberts, everyone calls her Soozi, was born in 1953, then back to Ft. Knox followed by 4 years in Panama. In 1961 the family was transferred to Ft. Belvoir. VA and bought a home in Fairfax, VA. All of the Roberts Kids, went to Fairfax High School.

When all of her children were on their own, Mary enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College to resume her nursing studies. Earning her Associates and Bachelors degrees, while working full time, Mary went on to gain a Masters Degree in Nursing Administration from George Mason University, with honors.

During the 1970’s, Mary was privileged to be part of an early program for ICU Nurses at NIH and MCV and went on to have a notable career in Nursing Administration including assignments in Arlington, VA, Hilton Head Island, SC, Maysville, KY (where she was awarded the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel”), and Buckhannon, WV. Mary was a long term participant in the Harvard Nurses Study.

On retiring from nursing Mary moved to Hilton Head, SC, and then to Lottsburg, VA to be near more of her family and grandchildren. While living in Lottsburg, Mary was one of the first to volunteer at the new Free Health Clinic in Lancaster County and served as Exec. Director for Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck.

Mary is fondly remembered by her children for the camping trips, as a swimming and rowing coach, and as the mentor that escorted them to Washington, DC for the musicals at Watergate, fireworks on the mall, the zoo and museums on Sundays. Mary resided the last ten (10) years in Heathsville and at The Orchard in Warsaw.

She is survived by 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She will be missed by many who knew her. Mary desired to rest with her Parents in Tolland, MA.

Mary asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck, P. O. Box 262, Warsaw, VA 22572 (

All are invited to A Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
Friday, Nov. 2, at 2:00 p. m., Henderson Memorial Methodist Church, Callao, VA and to visit family afterward at the home of Cheryl Roberts Duffey and Dr. D. H. “Hap” Duffey, Lottsburg.

Follow up:

Thanks for your consideration;

Arthur Roberts
804 462 5800

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