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Mary Freeman Cockrill Hernandez(1940 - 2013)

Mary Freeman Hernandez
Mary F. (Cockrill) Hernandez, 73, of 23A Power Square, Greenfield, passed peacefully on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, at Buckley HealthCare Center after suffering complications from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Mary was born in Little Rock, Ark., on Feb. 13, 1940 to Freeman and Grace (Wood) Cockrill. She grew up in Little Rock and attended St. Mary's Catholic School, graduating from Central High School in 1958. Mary also graduated from Greenfield Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Art and from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art.
It was in Little Rock where she met a handsome, young Air Force private who became her first husband, John P. Dalmaso, of Greenfield. They, and their children, traveled both the country and the world as the military moved them from base to base. Mary had the pleasure of living on Cape Cod, in Madrid Spain, Sembach Germany, Plattsburgh New York, Duluth Minnesota, and Antigo Wisconsin before marrying her second husband, Andrew Hernandez and moving to Newport News, Va. In 1979, Mary moved from Virginia to Greenfield, to be close to her mother and her ""baby"" sister, Bess.
Mary's former employers included Franklin Genesis Nursing Home, Franklin County Home Care, Zemi/Crystal, Megan's Treasurers and Baker Office Supply.
An avid bird watcher and nature enthusiast, her daughter affectionately referred to her as ""Jane Audobon."" Mary was a recognizable figure in the community and could be seen on nearly a daily basis year-round in downtown Greenfield sporting her camera and taking photographs or developing them.
An artist, Mary took pictures of people, animals, birds and buildings and while many of her earlier art exhibits that were hung in Green Field's Market, the Greenfield Public Library, Copycat Print Shop or at ArtSpace included mixed media, charcoal or acrylic paint pieces, her most inspired and successful body of work was a series entitled ""Downtown Kids.""
As a woman who was raised in the South and was a senior in high school at the very school where the first integration in the United States took place, she had an unending concern for social justice and discrimination. It was nearly 2 decades ago, when she felt as though her youngest son was being discriminated against for being a skateboarder, that she began forging friendships with the youth in the community. It began as simple as lending them an attentive ear, a warm embrace or a hot cup of coffee and blossomed into unconditional love and concern for them, as well as the community's homeless, addicted, poverty-stricken or mentally ill.
Mary did not subscribe to a person being ""lost""; rather, she believed that those who were otherwise ""invisible"" or were viewed as ""second-class citizens"" in her community were the ones worth being the kindest and openhearted towards. And while she taught her own children that you cannot save someone who doesn't want to save themselves, she was nonetheless committed to her cause. Mary believed that the act of engagement in the lives of disenfranchised young people created a connection for them within their community; a connection that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience. Her artwork was a labor of love dedicated to them and intended to expose their inner beauty to people who perhaps would not give them a second glance, based solely on the way they looked.
Mary leaves a large, loving family including her daughter, Marisa Dalmaso-Rode, and her husband which Mary affectionately referred to as her 'other son' James, of Erving, Meri Garrett-Perez of Plano, Texas, Anthony Dalmaso and his wife Sydney of Jamul, Calif., John Dalmaso and his wife Christina of Merced, Calif., Vincent Dalmaso of San Diego, Calif., and Andrew Hernandez II, formerly of Greenfield, of Ithaca, N.Y. Nana will be forever missed by her beloved grandchildren, Meghan Smith of Greenfield, Malcolm Smith and Juliana Rode of Erving and she was a proud Gigi of 2 great-grandchildren, Audrina and Lukas Gexler, of Greenfield. Mary also leaves 2 sisters, Angela Palermo and Bess Cadran, and her husband Dennis, all of Lampassas, Texas. Mary leaves grandsons, Jeff, Zach, Joseph, Giovanni, Dominic, Tyler and Michael, and granddaughters, Ashley and Ashleigh; nieces, Debbie,Tina, Denise and Maria, and nephews, John, Paul and John.
She was predeceased by her parents; a sister, Linda Lorena, and her life's heartbreak, son, Michael Angelo Dalmaso in 1994.
At Mary's request, there will be no services.
However, her children will be holding a Celebration of Life on her birthday in her honor, where her artwork and photographs will be displayed. The family would like to suggest that in lieu of flowers, financial donations in Mary's name be made to the Greenfield Public Library or that you follow Mary's example and look around and really see the people in your community; make eye contact, smile and show concern for those less fortunate than yourself.

 

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