Obituary of Mary Christine Gable
Mary Christine Sweetser Gable passed away peacefully on June 28th at home in Greenwich with her beloved children Michael Higgins and Katharine Higgins Kopac by her side. She credited her “Faith with a capital F”, for carrying her through a courageous 20-year battle with cancer. So it is kismet then that she passed on Sunday in her home on Church Street, shortly before church bells rang. A woman of many nicknames: Chris, Chrissy, Mom, Nai Nai and outlier (of cancer)… she lived a life that many would say would take ten people to live. Born on February 20, 1949 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Massachusetts she was the daughter of Dr. Peter Sweetser and Ruth Considine Sweetser, and sister to six siblings: Suzy, Peter, Michael, Sally, Faith and Timothy. Together they were a formidable force in the town of New Bedford, easily recognizable for their large toothsome grin and often found at a young age sailing across Buzzards Bay to Cuttyhunk and the Elizabeth Islands. Growing up in a large active family she learned how to speak up in a group, how to laugh and share stories, and the joys of singing and celebrating life with others. Her high school yearbook from Sacred Heart in Newton, MA said she had “The voice of an angel that could sing the anger out of a bear!” She went on to use her angelic voice while studying at Webster University in St. Louis and then transferred to Boston University’s classical piano program. Her yodeling could also be heard on many ski mountains and whenever she was lifting spirits up! In Boston, she met Peter Higgins and “sparks flew”. They fell in love, got married and for the next seven years would live in Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong where they had their first child Michael. Asia provided many adventures and opportunities for Chris to explore culture; learn Mandarin and Chinese cuisine all while beginning a network of lifetime friendships around the world. After Hong Kong, life brought her and Peter to a high rise on Central Park West and then to Manhattan Beach, California where they had their second child Katharine. With both Michael and Katharine in her life, Chris’ childhood dream of becoming a mother brought her “vision and joy!” And what a scintillating mother she was! She could often be found boogying to Whitney Houston or Diana Ross in her kitchen or car. Dedicated to providing her children with a good life, she worked hard to provide them with a solid foundation to grow, and was unwavering in her spirit, love, faith, humor and confidence after the tragic loss of their father. Never one to complain, she was a rock whose inspiring ways touched many beyond her family. Chris, Michael and Katharine would eventually grow their roots in Larchmont N.Y. where she enjoyed sailing at the Larchmont Yacht Club, cheering on her children in school (on the field or on the stage), gardening with her adored rescue Shih Tzu Murphy or spending time with her friends new and old. Memorable for her beauty, style, spunk, warmth, wisdom, and loyalty she nurtured a network of friendships that she had carried through the years as a student, a traveler, and a working professional in advertising with the Interpublic Group and then on to her most cherished of jobs at Xylem Inc: Water Solutions. Later in life she rejoiced at the opportunity of becoming a dedicated, and caring “Nai Nai” (grandmother in Mandarin) to Michael and his beloved wife Cary’s three children: Alice, Amelia and Henry. Always happy to play the fool to their jokes, to feed them too much of her favorite peppermint stick ice cream or to sing them songs on the piano, they gave her a second wind in life and even on the worst of days could easily crack that Sweetser grin. In the last 4 years of her life she found that moving to Greenwich, CT with her daughter Katharine brought her much peace. She sang in the choir at St.Mary’s Church on Greenwich Avenue and shared the same tenacious faith in God with many of her friends and parishioners. She was eventually nominated by the Order Of Malta to travel to the healing waters of Lourdes, France but those plans were cancelled due to the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. But before she left this world, she was overjoyed to see Katharine marry Joshua Kopac who also helped care for her at the end of her life. The news of their first child, due to be born in the fall also gave her many happy thoughts. Shortly before her death, she could be spotted in the passenger seat of her daughter’s convertible, headed to Todd’s Point for one last trip to the beach. Chris leaves behind a legacy to all who knew her of kindness, courage and perseverance. She was predeceased by her mother and father; favorite aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. Peter Desmond, first husband Peter, brother Timothy, brother-in-laws Daniel Barry and Hans Brenninkmeyer and nephew Kees Brenninkmeyer. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 8th at 11am under the tent at St. Agnes Church: 247 Stanwich Road, Greenwich, CT. Seats will be six feet apart; masks required. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in her name to Memorial Sloan Kettering.