Mary Elizabeth Hoss Darr passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the age of 93, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Mary was born on May 12, 1930, in Jacksonville, Florida to Anna Margaret Hoss, born in Pforzheim, Germany, and Henry M. Hoss, born in Cologne, Germany, both naturalized United States citizens. Mary, her mother, and her older sister Margaret traveled to Pforzheim, Germany, while Mary was very young, to visit her grandmother and Aunt Gertrude. Mary and her family returned to Jacksonville, and Mary was able to speak and understand German throughout her life. Her grandmother and Aunt Gertrude left Germany shortly thereafter, with the clothes on their backs, moving to Jacksonville to be near Mary’s family. Mary remained close to her grandmother and Aunt Gertrude throughout their lives.
Mary attended St. Paul’s Catholic School in Jacksonville from grammar school through high school with her lifelong friend, the late Anne Warren Montgomery. Mary was a member of the school basketball team and enjoyed basketball throughout her life. After high school, Mary and Anne moved to New Orleans to attend Charity Hospital Nursing School. Mary met her husband William S. Darr while attending a school dance. After graduating from Charity and becoming a registered nurse, Mary and Bill were married and moved to Hollywood, California, returning to New Orleans for a brief stay, and then moving back to Hollywood. Mary and Bill permanently relocated to New Orleans when their children were of school age. Bill tragically passed away from cancer and Mary raised their four young children alone.
After Bill’s death, Mary began her almost 30 year career as a school nurse for the Orleans Parish School System. After her children were older, Mary attended the University of Holy Cross at night, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Mary enjoyed taking care of hundreds of elementary school students during her long nursing career and especially enjoyed her years at Edward Hynes Elementary School, where she remained until her retirement. Mary made lasting friendships with the teachers and nurses she worked with and enjoyed get togethers with them through retirement.
Later in life, Mary joined Elmwood Fitness Club and enjoyed swimming, exercise and water aerobics. She made new friends at Elmwood whom she continued to lunch with. Mary was a devout Catholic who was a parishioner at St. Dominic’s in Lakeview until Hurricane Katrina, when she moved to the Northshore and joined Our Lady of the Lake Parish. She also enjoyed attending Magnificat breakfasts with other Catholic women. One of the highlights of her life was being present in the Superdome to hear Pope John Paul II speak on his visit to New Orleans in 1987.
An avid traveler, Mary visited Germany, Italy, Ireland and Israel, and other European destinations as well as around the United States, often accompanied by her grandson William. She loved the family’s annual trip to Perdido Beach, Florida with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and prepared her famous barbecued shrimp for them.
Mary resided at St. Anthony’s Gardens for the past six years and enjoyed her time living there until her last illness. Staff and residents always commented how complimentary Mary was to everyone and how she always made people feel better about themselves. The Darr Family thanks St. Anthony’s Gardens and Christwood Skilled Nursing for the outstanding care provided to Mary.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her only sister Margaret Hoss Damaré. She is survived by her four loving children, Mary Ann Darr Wegmann (Stephen), Dr. Pamela S. Darr, Dr. William S. Darr (Kay), and Dr. Kevin F. Darr (Mary); her eleven grandchildren whom she adored, Christopher S. Wegmann, Dr. Charles S. (“Chase”) Schumacher (Caroline), William J. Schumacher, Reverend Andrew P. Schumacher, Thomas H. Schumacher, Marissa Darr Voorhis (Matthew), Matthew S. Darr, Paul A. Darr, Elise C. Darr, Diana E. Darr and Cameron L. Darr; her two great grandchildren, Charles Henry and Andrew Philip Schumacher; her four step grandchildren, Johnny Thompson (Jess), Sarah Mender (Colin), Dr. David Thompson (Dr. Elizabeth), and Patrick Thompson; and her step great grandchild James Mender. Mary loved spending time with all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and had a very special relationship with each one.
A 2:00pm graveside committal service Saturday September 16, 2023 at Evergreen Cemetery Saint Mary’s Section Jacksonville, Florida, where Mary will be laid to rest next to her husband Bill, her parents, her grandmother and Aunt Gertrude.
In lieu of flowers, please consider having Masses said in Mary’s honor at her grandson’s parish, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 707 Orange Street, Mermentau, LA 70556, or please donate to Notre Dame Seminary, or to your favorite charity.
Arrangements with Evergreen Funeral Home 4535 Main Street Jacksonville Florida 904-353-3649