Word has been received that Mary E. Crowley, a longtime resident of Buzzards Bay who had a successful career in real estate on the Upper Cape for more than 40 years, died February 27 in Bozeman, Montana. She was 95.
Born in Boise, Idaho, she was the only child of Roy and Grace Steele. During her youth, she and her parents enjoyed the outdoors by hiking in the mountains, camping and eating the fresh fish they caught. Her father was a railroad man, which instilled a love of trains in her. She received her high school diploma from Ursuline Academy in 1941.
She married US Air Force Lieutenant James A. Crowley in Bakersfield, California, on September 30, 1944. Their family grew to include five children as they moved with each Air Force transfer across the United States as well as to Guam, Puerto Rico, and two tours of duty in Madrid, Spain.
She and her husband settled in Buzzards Bay in 1952, and after Chief Master Sergeant Crowley retired from the military in 1969, the couple opened their own real estate firm, Crowley Associates. After her husband died in 1975, she continued to build the business while caring for her family.
During the more than 40 years that Ms. Crowley sold real estate on the Upper Cape, her reputation of honesty and integrity earned her many positions on the state and local level: she was the first woman to be elected president of the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors and she went on to become president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors in 1998.
Several items from the Enterprise archives reported that she was a Massachusetts Realtor Political Action Committee Life Member and had been presented with the association’s Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award in 1986; and, in 1997, was national director and member of the National Association of Realtors License Law Committee.
On the local level, Ms. Crowley was a member of the Cape Cod & Islands Board of Realtors Strategic Planning Committee, a former chairman of the board’s Grievance and Professional Standards committees, and was honored as the Cape Cod & Islands Board’s Realtor of the Year in 1979.
She also served on the Tobey Hospital board of directors and was active in the chamber of commerce.
Ms. Crowley had a strong Catholic faith and at St. Margaret’s Church in Buzzards Bay was a Eucharistic Minister, reader and Catechism teacher among other roles, receiving a Marian Medal for her service to the parish. The St. Margaret’s Regional School Scholarship Fund was set up in her honor when she celebrated her 90th birthday.
She enjoyed walking along the Cape Cod Canal and seeing the Railroad Bridge, which kept her love of trains alive. She also enjoyed her travel adventures, among them a trip to China, numerous trips to Roatan, Honduras, and teaching real estate ethics in Romania. At the age of 85 she went on a week-long rafting trip on the Salmon River in the state of her birth.
At the time of her death, Ms. Crowley was living in Bozeman, Montana, where she had moved in 2017 to be closer to her daughter and two grandchildren.
She leaves that daughter, Janet Brownell; a son, Patrick Crowley of Onset; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and other family.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by three sons and a grandson.
A funeral service was held Thursday, June 20, at St. Margaret’s Church in Buzzards Bay, followed by a reception at St. Margaret Regional School.