By the family
Apr. 22, 2020: Mary Armstrong Mimms, 105, died peacefully at her home in Manhattan on April 13, 2020. Mary was known for her ebullient spirit, which never left her, and when asked for her secret, she would respond: “faith, love and laughter,” as her parents taught her.
Mary was born on December 28, 1914, in Victoria, Texas, the fifth of six children of Mary (Coe) and Elmer Armstrong. In 1918, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Mary started kindergarten at the Flatbush Private School. In 1932, Mary graduated Valedictorian from the same school, where she was also Vice President of the School Council, active in the French and Drama Clubs, and a member of the school basketball team.
Mary Mimms at age 103
The impact of the Great Depression, however, meant that Mary’s dreams of college were not to be. Instead, Mary went to night school at the Pratt Business School, where she studied business, learned secretarial skills and bookkeeping, and entered the working world. During her ten-year career, Mary rose up the ranks in business to become an account executive in marketing for Hearst Magazine, a promotion that was unusual for women at that time. Mary was responsible for calling on advertisers to keep their interest in the Hearst Publications until WWII was over and they could resume advertising again.
In 1944, however, while living in San Francisco, Mary decided to help with the war effort, where she met and married a handsome Navy lieutenant, Carney W. Mimms, Jr., to whom she remained devoted for 39 years until his death in 1983.
Mary’s true passion was her family: her husband Carney (who would become Village Justice in Bronxville, New York for 19 years), and later her three children, whom she raised in Bronxville. During their growing-up years, Mary was a beloved Cub Scout and Brownie leader, and active in the Home Economics program at the Bronxville schools. Mary was a member of the Reformed Church of Bronxville and a proud member of the DAR, earning a distinguished membership award at the age of 100.
For the last 23 years of her life, Mary lived in Manhattan, where she was a devotee of the New York City arts scene, including ballet, modern dance, and theatre. Mary maintained her love of life up to the end, attending the New York City Ballet and the Roundabout Theatre as recently as February, at 105 years of age.
Mary’s survivors include her three children: Carney, Gaines, and Lee Adella (Dagger), and their partners, Ruth, Brigitte, and Tom, her eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren, who Mary referred to as her “circle of love.”
A memorial service will be planned by her family at a future date.