WHITE STONE—Mary Ruth McClymond Krolak was a New Year’s baby, born January 1, 1935, in Oklahoma.
She was the youngest of four children: two sisters, Charlotte and Helen; and a brother, Joseph. Her parents were Joseph Lea McClymond, a businessman, and Nell Schindler McClymond, an educator and principal.
When Mary was young, her family moved to Topeka, Kan. After high school, she attended Stephen’s College in Columbia, Mo., and then transferred to San Diego State University in California where she pursued further studies in art and education and met Richard Stanley Krolak, a Marine Corps Officer and all-around fine fellow. She lived in the apartment beneath him and met him when she went upstairs to ask him to turn the volume of his jazz records down.
Richard (“Dick”) and Mary married on July 25, 1959, and traveled from postings in California to Knoxville, Tenn., Quantico, and Camp Lejeune, N.C. Along the way, they grew their own Marine Corps family of six children: Richard Gregory, Joseph Stanley, William Alan, John Charles (deceased in childhood), Kristin Marya and Michael Romuald. Mary’s talent for organization, music, art and literature made her a creative and wonderful mother. Fun childhood memories include making summertime watermelon boats and enjoying the most beautiful handmade advent calendar every Christmas season.
When Dick retired from the Marine Corps in 1976, the family moved onto their 35-foot sailboat to seek adventure. From their home in Camp Lejeune, they proceeded up and down the east coast along the United States Intracoastal Waterway, finally ending up at a new (land) home in Annapolis, Md. Mary managed to keep seven people happy and safe on the open water through innovative parenting and a good sense of humor. Mary also made her mark at the Annapolis Public Library, working as a children’s librarian.
After many years in Annapolis, Mary and Dick moved to the beautiful Northern Neck of Virginia, settling in White Stone in 1987. However—in yet another adventure—for several years, they lived on the island of Bermuda, where Mary obtained her Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities Academic Certificate. Returning to White Stone, Mary obtained an advanced degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and, for several years, taught second grade at the Chesapeake Academy in Irvington, before entering private practice as a tutor for dyslexic children through the Lancaster County Public School system and Chesapeake Academy. Both Mary and her husband, Dick, were members of the St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.
Mary’s considerable artistic abilities were the pride of her family. She was especially skilled in watercolor and her paintings of the architecture and landscapes of the many places she lived and visited are treasured. Mary was known for her kindness, empathy and warm sense of humor. She also contributed time and care to children’s issues including the March of Dimes and research into Rh immunoglobulin (RhIG) treatments to protect babies during pregnancy. Memories of this incredibly creative, loving and gracefully beautiful woman will bring comfort to her loved ones as we consider how fully she lived her life and what a lasting impact she had on those souls who were fortunate to love and know her.
She passed away peacefully on February 13, 2021, and is survived by her husband of 62 years, Richard Krolak; and her children, Richard and his wife, Stephanie Krolak, four grandchildren, Jack, Theo, Max, and Zachary; Joseph and his wife, Donna Morrow; William Krolak; Kristin Krolak; and Michael and wife, Hope Krolak.
Burial will be at National Cemetery, Knoxville. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the St. Francis De Sales “Need Assistance Program.”
Rest in Peace, Beloved Wife and Mother, our love will last forever.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.