Community remembers life of hit-and-run victim

The late Mary McCormack, of Prospect, right, talks with Sister Mary Frederick during the 90th anniversary dinner for Saint Margaret's School at the Villa Rosa in Waterbury in 2006.  McCormack died last Friday in a hit-and-run accident while she was snowblowing her driveway on Straitsville Road. –RA ARCHIVE

The late Mary McCormack, of Prospect, right, talks with Sister Mary Frederick during the 90th anniversary dinner for Saint Margaret’s School at the Villa Rosa in Waterbury in 2006. McCormack died last Friday in a hit-and-run accident while she was snowblowing her driveway on Straitsville Road. –RA ARCHIVE


PROSPECT — Community members, friends and town officials remembered the local woman who was killed in a hit-and-run accident during the winter storm last Friday as honest, meticulous and loving.

Mary McCormack, who celebrated her 79th birthday the day before the historic blizzard hit, was snowblowing her driveway at 7 Straitsville Road when she was hit by an unidentified vehicle at about 8 p.m., authorities said.

McCormack was pronounced dead at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury. The crash remains under investigation.

Her death has affected many in the community, where friends say she was well-loved. McCormack served on the town’s safety committee in the early 2000s, was a longtime member of the Prospect Senior Center, was a longtime parishioner of St. Anthony’s Church and was involved in the church’s Ladies Guild, Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

“She was always dressed to the nines,” Chatfield said. “Anywhere she went.”

The Rev. Mark Suslenko of St. Anthony’s said McCormack was a gracious, pleasant, energetic woman who always smiled. Whenever he walked down the aisle after Sunday mass, McCormack would smile and nod, he said.

Her smile was very welcoming, and that’s how he will always remember her, Suslenko said.

Prospect Senior Center Director Lucy Smegielski said McCormack came to the senior center all the time. She participated in the Tai Chi classes every Wednesday, attended holiday parties and went on trips. She was a big supporter of the senior center, she said.

“She let you know exactly what she thought,” Smegielski said. “I loved that about her.”

She also kept her house in pristine condition, she said, and it didn’t surprise her to hear that McCormack was out in the middle of a snowstorm, snowblowing her driveway.

McCormack helped people behind the scenes, such as driving friends to the hospital if they needed a ride, Smegielski said.

Joan Coviello, who met McCormack through Tai Chi class, said if she couldn’t drive her husband to the hospital, McCormack would give them a ride. She was an honest, true friend who would do anything for them, she said.

“She was so full of life,” Coviello said. “She was the life of the party.”

Mary Ferro, who lives on the second floor of McCormack’s house on Straitsville, said McCormack became more of a friend than a landlord. They did everything together, watching movies, going out for dinner and walking McCormack’s Bichon Frise, Meme.

“She was a wonderful person,” Ferro said. “I loved her dearly. She was a good friend.”