Born on January 2, 1937 to Canton natives James M. and Frances E. (Fry) Ketchem.
Mary moved with her parents to Ithaca, NY at age four where she devoted her life to the happiness of her family and friends and to the betterment of the community.
Mary graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell in 1958. While at Cornell she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. She married Clarence C. “Bud” Larkin in 1960 and their union lasted for 33 years. Mary returned to Cornell in 1969 where, true to form, she excelled at conquering challenges: she earned her Masters in Education with high honors in less than a year and half while very pregnant with her third child.
A proud product of the public school system, Mary returned to Ithaca High School as a History teacher where she invested over three decades of her compassion and tenacity working to elevate students often cast as at-risk, troubled or behind. But in Mary’s classroom there were no labels and no excuses: she made certain that each student understood that they had the potential for success. She worked tirelessly as their teacher, mentor, advocate and often surrogate parent to help them find and fulfill that potential. One of Mary’s most lasting legacies are the generations of her former students that found in her the acceptance, warmth and faith they needed to turn the trajectories of their lives around.
Mary’s thirst for knowledge and adventure took her around the globe: from Singapore to Panama, Egypt to Japan, Norway to Australia. But no matter if she found herself somehow accompanying an orchestra on a tour of Central Europe or witnessing the British handover of Hong Kong, she was the same caring, generous, mom-to-all so well loved back home: Mary brought home baked brownies when visiting the hinterlands of the Russian Far East; as a favor to the recent émigré who drove her to the Raleigh-Durham airport for her trip to Morocco, she was delighted to seek out the driver’s family in Casablanca to let them know he was doing just fine in his new home. Everyone is someone’s child after all, and Mary was naturally gifted to be a mom to anyone who needed one.
Mary will be rejoining her loved ones who have gone before her, including her parents, James and Frances Ketchem; her former husband, Bud Larkin; Bud’s mother and Mary’s kindred spirit, Isabel Cuervo Larkin; and Mary’s much adored aunt, Marie Hallett, of Canton, PA.
Mary is survived by daughter, Maria F. Larkin, Cary, NC; sons, Andrew J. (Angela) Larkin, Upper Montclair, NJ and Daniel M. (Christine) Larkin, Scituate, MA; and grandchildren Benjamin, Kevin, Jaida, Annie, Elizabeth, Joseph, Lyla, and Cole.
Private services will be held at Park Cemetery in Canton and, in lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org.