Mary Rafferty, age 86, of Milwaukee, formerly of Kenosha and Hartford, WI, died peacefully surrounded by family on October 12, 2019 following a brief illness.
To send flowers in memory of Mary Agnes Rafferty (Doyle), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
She was born in Sparta, WI, April 19, 1933, to the late Joseph and Coletta Doyle. Mary was educated in Sparta schools and graduated from Marquette University’s College of Journalism. At Marquette she met her future husband, Dr. Hugh Rafferty, whom she married in LaCrosse in 1955. They lived in Kenosha for more than 30 years before moving to Hartford in 2008 and to a retirement community in Milwaukee in 2015.
An avid reader, Mary enjoyed her book club and the satisfaction of solving crosswords and other word puzzles on a daily basis. She was a formidable foe on the Scrabble board yet never gloated over her many triple-word scores. Long before e-mail, she was in the habit of keeping in touch with old school classmates and other friends through handwritten letters, a practice that continued throughout her life. When she met a new friend at an inn in Ireland, the two began a
16-year exchange of letters across the Atlantic.
Mary followed all Wisconsin sports teams, especially the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers, but her heart belonged to the University of Notre Dame. Her passion for the Irish was an inheritance from her father, a student at the university during the time of legendary coach Knute Rockne. She remembered being taught as a young child the names of the fabled Four Horsemen of Notre Dame football. Tennis was a passion she shared with her children and husband.
In addition to her husband, Mary is survived by daughters Brigid Rafferty, Chicago; Ellen (Bob) Renick, Franklin; Elizabeth Rafferty, Milwaukee; and Sheila (Paul) Beck, Wauwatosa, and a son, Hugh Patrick (Tina) Rafferty, Kenosha. Mary is also survived by her grandchildren Joe (Yvonne), Andy (Danielle) and John Renick; Christopher and Erin Mary Hughes; Madeline and Owen Rafferty; Ian and Lauren Beck; and great-grandchildren Penelope, Ainsley and Cole Renick. Mary is further survived by sisters Eileen (the late Jack) Knothe, LaCrosse; Jeanne (the late Bob) Salmon, Peabody, MA; and a brother, J. Patrick (Carlyn) Doyle, McComb, MS. She is also survived by sisters-in-law Audrey Rafferty and Rita Bistrick, both of Kenosha, and many nieces and nephews.
Mary’s family is grateful for the kindness and care of Dr. Soryal Soryal, the staff of Vitas Hospice and Clement Manor Clare Suites.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 19th, at St. Mark Catholic Church, 7117 14th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53143, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy or Literacy Services of Wisconsin would be appreciated.
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
Visit & Sign Mary’s Online Memorial Book at: