Mary-Gray Swezey Griffith passed peacefully on June 28, 2023. She was 95.
Mary-Gray was born Sept. 21, 1927 in Goshen, New York, the second of two children to John Marshall Swezey and Hazel Keener Swezey. She graduated from Goshen High School in 1945 and then Harvard University (Radcliffe) in 1949 with a degree in Social Relations.
Mary-Gray married the love of her life, Thomas E. Griffith, on Sept. 8, 1951. They started their family in Pearl River, New York, where she worked for the Rockland County Department of Welfare. In the 1960s, she received her real estate license and worked with her husband at their Pearl River real estate business. During that time, she was also a girl scout leader and was active in the Nauraushaun Presbyterian church. Mary-Gray and the family moved back to Goshen in 1969.
Mary-Gray was one of Goshen’s treasures. She epitomized the very best that a citizen can offer its community and has been seen as an inspiration and mentor to many. Mary-Gray spent much of her life dedicated to supporting the beautiful village of Goshen, where her family has lived since the 1840s.
During her presidency of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce (1981-82) she brought together the community to create Goshen’s premiere event, the Great American Weekend, and remained a key player of that event up until the last few years. She felt this was one of her greatest contributions to Goshen and in 2015 was recognized for her tireless work on this continuing event. We know she was there in spirit this summer, its 40th year.
After serving as president of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, Mary-Gray saw the need to protect the architectural integrity of downtown Goshen. In 1983, she formed Goshen Restoration Unlimited, a not-for-profit organization designed to spearhead the restoration of Goshen’s historic downtown. Her other important contribution to the community was her committed efforts to ensure the successful passage of the original Architectural Design District.
With her husband Tom, Mary-Gray opened one of Goshen’s leading real estate offices, Griffith Realtors, on Main Street. Mary-Gray lead the Griffith Realtors’ Goshen office from 1969until 2015 when she retired at age 88. The business is still run by family (in her honor and) according to her professional values.
Mary-Gray held many leadership positions in real estate, including president of the Orange County Multiple Listing System and president of the Orange County Board of Realtors where she remained very active and dedicated for many years. Mary-Gray was also active in the New York State Association of Realtors and served one year as regional vice president. She held a GRI from the Graduate Realtor Institute and a CRB as a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager.
Mary-Gray earned numerous business and civic awards including the 1983 Orange County Realtor of the Year; the Goshen Chamber’s 1985 Woman of the Year; the 2002 Woman of Achievement of Orange County in Business; and the 2006 Goshen Chamber of Commerce Life-Time Achievement award. In addition, Mary-Gray and her husband Tom were honored for their “foresight and courage” in developing the Swezey Professional Building in Goshen.
Mary-Gray was also instrumental in the running of the Red Door Thrift Shop, which opened in Goshen in 1979 to support the local community. The Red Door continues that support today.
Through the years she was very involved in the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen, where she served as an elder, as well as the church school superintendent and teacher. Mary-Gray also served as president of the Board of Trustees of The Hudson River Presbytery.
In her later years, Mary-Gray taught Yoga and Tai Chi and was an active member of the Goshen Garden Club. In 2017, Mary-Gray was inducted into Goshen Central High School’s Hall of Distinction.
When not at work or serving the community, Mary-Gray enjoyed spending time with her family, playing tennis, reading, visiting friends, going to the beach, traveling the world and skiing (which she famously did until she was 80 years old). MG was also well known for the many parties and community events she and her husband held.
Mary-Gray is survived by her four daughters, Ann C. Griffith, Jean “Gigi”(Kenneth) Hansen, Cindy (David) Bennett and Gray (John)Tham; and grandchildren Jessica Ann Griffith, Jon Marshall and Thomas E. Hansen, and Max Griffith, Sean Thomas and Eliza Gray Tham, and her cat Thumper, along with many nieces and nephews and their children. She was predeceased in death by her mother and father, brother C. Lawrence Swezey and husband Thomas E. Griffith.
Visitation was held July 7 at Donovan Funeral Home, 82 South Church Street, Goshen. The funeral was held July 8 at the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen, 33 Park Place, Goshen. Burial followed in Slate Hill Cemetery, Goshen.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund or to Goshen Chamber’s Great American Weekend Fund.
The Griffith Family would like to extend our deepest thanks to the Glen Arden staff and Mary-Gray’s earthly angels: Jen Allan, Melissa Kostic, Dorothy El Nagar and Tanya Kulinska-Dimitrova.