Mary Staples
Mary Staples of Old Greenwich, Connecticut and Jesup, Iowa passed away peacefully surrounded by her family from heart failure on April 20 after 3 years of fighting various illnesses. She leaves behind her husband, David Webber, her daughters, Tracy Neeson and Kimberly Purcell Wright, her stepson, Alan Webber, seven grandchildren and her brother, Gerry.

Mary was born to Orval and Lucille Shatzer and grew up in Jesup, Iowa. She joined IBM in Cedar Rapids in 1961 and in 1964 became one of ten women in the US responsible for teaching the use of the first word processors to clients. In 1969 she was moved to IBM Data Processing in White Plains and settled in Greenwich.

She and David founded a company in 1973 that became the premier provider of computer services to the business side of magazines. The company grew to over 100 employees and counted over 600 magazine clients in nine countries. The 3M Corporation acquired the company in 1983 and Mary became the first woman to reach the rank of General Manager in 3M history.

A resident of Old Greenwich for over 50 years, when she retired from 3M she put her salesmanship skills to work focusing on local non-profit fundraising.

In 1987, she became President of the Board of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich and within two years raised $7 million to build the Museum structure that exists today. She also founded the annual Renaissance Ball, the first such event in Greenwich, that provided the funds that began the transformation of the somewhat sleepy Museum into the premier social non-profit it has become. The Ball was widely copied by other non-profits and provided Greenwich with a new dimension to its social life. She remained on the Board until 1991 when she received the Bruce Museum Director’s Award for her leadership.

From 1986 to 1989, Mary was a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the town of Greenwich. She served on the Board of the Adult Day Care Center, the Greenwich Parks Preservation Commission and Connections, a network of Greenwich women.
When her term as President of the Bruce was over, the Norwalk Community-Technical College asked her to provide the same fundraising leadership for their Educational Scholarship Fund. She certainly did that, encouraging donors from Greenwich to donate to the very worthy cause of education for single mothers and immigrants and founding Le Bal d’Ecole that, over the years, raised so many millions for scholarships that the College conferred on her an Honorary degree and the Dedicated Service Award.

In Jesup, Mary donated a large stained-glass window to the Lutheran Church in memory of her parents Orval and Lucille Shatzer. The children depicted in the window are the grandchildren she had at the time.

Growing up on the family farm in Iowa, Mary always had a love of animals, helping any in need when she could, but her deep love over the years was her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who were always with her. Two of them appeared with her on the cover of The Nutmegger magazine.

Services will be private.
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