• 66°

Mary Anne Wetzel

1950 – 2020

Kill Devil Hills, NC – Mary Anne Wetzel, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, passed away on August 3, 2020, after a sudden and brief battle with cancer. She was 69.

Born in Hawaii in 1950 to William and Catherine O’Neill, Mary Anne grew up throughout the United States and Spain during her father’s 30-year career in the Navy. She considered Philadelphia her hometown, and fondly remembered childhood adventures with her four brothers in that city and in Wildwood, New Jersey, where the family spent summers. Her upbringing instilled a love of travel and exploration that continued throughout her life; among her favorite trips were Ireland with her husband, Rick, France with her daughter, Chava, New York City with her daughter, Susannah, and Japan with her son, Anthony.

A graduate of Little Flower High School, Mary Anne attended Chestnut Hill College before becoming a first-grade teacher at St. Leo’s School, in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1971. She would later earn a Bachelor’s degree from Towson University and a Master’s degree from the University of North Texas. In the late 1980s, she was invited to take part in a leadership program that shepherded teachers into becoming administrators. In 1992, she began her first year as a principal at St. Luke’s School in Irving, Texas. Over the next twenty-five years, she led six schools, touching the lives of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. She was known as an expert in early childhood education who was committed to excellence, but who also possessed great sensitivity and a wonderful sense of humor. Even at Manteo Elementary, a large school with over 500 students, Mary Anne knew every child’s name. Her outstanding leadership earned her Dare County Schools’ Principal of the Year accolades twice: 2006-07 and 2013-14. As colleague John Donlan remembered, “Whenever Mary Anne stepped in to run a school, you knew it would be done right.”

Mary Anne married Rick Wetzel in 1979. Together they raised three children and made homes in Baltimore, MD, Dallas, TX, Flemington, NJ, and finally, the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They shared a love of movies, music, books, and good food, and their homes were always full of them. They delighted in their children, grandchildren, and their “granddog,” Boss. They celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary in April.

Despite her many professional accomplishments, Mary Anne was most proud of being a mother to her three children. Her selflessness, unconditional love, and constant support anchored them through life and were her greatest gifts to them. Although the bar was therefore set high, she somehow outdid herself as a grandmother. She was “Mare Mare” to four grandsons, all of whom she rocked to sleep, read to, ran with, and took to the ocean, where their first dip into the waves was at her feet. It does not seem possible that they could have loved her as much as she did them, but they did, and always will.

Mary Anne was preceded in death by her parents, William and Catherine O’Neill. She leaves behind a family who will miss her always: husband, Rick Wetzel; children, Chavaleh Nophsker, Susannah Williams, and Anthony Wetzel; sons-in-law, Christian Nophsker and Jeffrey Williams; grandsons, Finn, Eamonn, Ronan, and Callahan Williams; and brothers and sisters-in-law, Michael and Maureen O’Neill, Bill and Anne O’Neill, Peter and Phoebe O’Neill, and John O’Neill.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at Twiford Colony Chapel, Manteo. The family requests that visitors wear masks and respect social distancing guidelines. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fellowship Hall, 5140 Dunstan Road, Greensboro, NC 27405 or online at https://www.fellowshiphall.com/donation-page-landing.php.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.

READ MORE OBITUARIES HERE.

News

NCDOT expects parts of NC 12 to remain closed through Tuesday afternoon

News

North Carolina’s unemployment rate falls to nearly half of lockdown’s peak

Crime

Arrest made in Saturday shooting on Knotts Island

News

NC 12 on Hatteras Island to reopen at 5 p.m., NCDOT advises ‘extreme caution’

News

NC 12 on Ocracoke back open, ferry service resumes

News

Overwash causes closure of parts of NC 12 on Hatteras and Ocracoke

News

Running out of storm names, Atlantic season goes Greek

News

Regional COVID-19 case count update

News

Permit for water treatment system issued for Chemours site

News

Duck Town Council reviews promotions and contracts

News

Mascot name change presentation brought to Dare Board of Education

News

Dare County warns about coastal flooding and NC 12 impact

News

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative linemen travel to Alabama to assist with Hurricane Sally damage

Crime

UPDATED: Body found in Virginia believed to be missing North Carolina man, suspect charged

Hyde

NCDOT: Bigfoot Slough dredging tentatively scheduled for next week

News

Cooper: North Carolina can elementary schools move to Plan A in October

News

ARHS reports additional COVID-19 related death in Bertie County

News

Unsettled weather visits Outer Banks

News

Four positive COVID-19 cases reported at Peak Resources

News

Additional COVID-19 related death reported in Pasquotank County

News

NC lieutenant governor: Reopen schools without mask mandate

News

Some North Carolina voters mistakenly get two absentee ballots

Currituck

Currituck County Board of Education names Lutz as superintendent

Lifestyles

Constitution Week begins Thursday