Mary Clute Hettinger

May 26, 1931 ~ March 29, 2021 (age 89)


Mary Kathryn Clute Hettinger, 89, of Falls Church, Va., died March 29, 2021, at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

Born May 26, 1931, in Albany, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late James Tobin Clute and the late Margaret Schafer Clute. Mrs. Hettinger was married for over 66 years, raised three sons, held several jobs and was involved in numerous volunteer, civic and church activities. After spending 20-plus years on Long Island, N.Y., she had lived in northern Virginia since 1978.

She is survived by her husband, William S. Hettinger Sr. of Falls Church, whom she married on Feb. 5, 1955; sons, William S. Hettinger Jr. of Windham, Conn., and his wife, Ann-Marie Hettinger, James P. Hettinger of Waldorf, Md., and Michael J. Hettinger of Potomac Falls, Va., and his fiancée, Tabetha Mueller; sister, Dorothy Cordell of Colonie, N.Y., and her husband, James Cordell; grandchildren, Laura Hettinger of Washington, D.C., Jessica Dinsdale of Altus, Okla., and her husband, Matthew Dinsdale, and Paige Hettinger of Potomac Falls; great-grandchildren, Alanna Dinsdale, Sabrina Dinsdale and Felicity Dinsdale, all of Altus; nieces, Sheila Morrissey, Maureen Rappette, Therese Cordell, Catherine McGee and Suzanne Strakosh-Kochersberger; nephews, Edward Cordell and Daniel Cordell; and former daughters-in-law, Maureen Hettinger and Leslie Hettinger.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Hettinger was preceded in death by her mother-in-law, Laura M. Hettinger; sister, Peggy Springsteen; and niece, Kathleen Williams.

In recent years, Mrs. Hettinger attended Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria, Va. Earlier, she attended St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Falls Church. While living on Long Island, she belonged to and sang in the choirs at St. Joseph’s Church in Kings Park, N.Y., and St. James Roman Catholic Church in East Setauket, N.Y.

Mrs. Hettinger, who was once named “Miss Albany” in a contest, met her husband while they both were employed by the New York Telephone Company in Albany. She later did stints selling Fuller Brush Company products on Long Island and working for Honeywell and a real estate firm in northern Virginia.

A graduate of Vincentian Institute in Albany, Mrs. Hettinger in her 50s received an associate’s degree from Northern Virginia Community College.  

Her volunteer activities included working at two thrift stores near her home in Virginia, and she belonged to book and antique clubs.  

Mrs. Hettinger was an avid reader who frequently borrowed books from the public library. She was an enthusiastic antique collector with a particular interest in dolls. As a homemaker, she was known for her lasagna, chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and she sewed and made clothes for her family. She cared for several family cats and dogs over the years and instilled a love of animals in her children.

Surrounded by male sports fans in her home, she learned to enjoy watching sports on television, particularly tennis. Her favorite movies ranged from “The Way We Were” to “A Christmas Story” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” She enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra and other interpreters of the Great American Songbook. She was a fan of the radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” and attended several of its live performances at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Virginia. Mrs. Hettinger and her husband also enjoyed traveling, taking several trips to Hawaii and Europe.

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