Anna Casey Black, 96, long-time resident of Harwood, MD and beloved wife of Ray Black for 63 years, died on March 14, 2019.
Anna was born in Mt. Rainier, MD on July 31, 1922 to Patrick and Nora (Diskin) Casey. In addition to her parents, Anna was preceded in death by her husband Ray, brothers John, Martin, and Francis and her beloved sister Catherine (Sis). Her life was framed by her mother’s County Galway and father’s County Mayo roots, to where she and Ray traveled many times with friends and family. She nurtured connections to cousins in Westport, and especially the ancestral homestead in Tuar Mhic Eadaigh. She and Ray shared a love for everything Irish (her email moniker was “tizhurself”), including its music and culture. The grandchildren, some now themselves parents, will break into all four verses of “Waltzing with Bears,” with minimal provocation.
Anna is survived by her five children, Susan (Michael Duff), Kathleen (Todd) Redlin, Julie (William) Carlson, Daniel (Marie White) and David (Lisa); grandchildren, Trevor (Emi), Andrew (Kourtney), Brian (Liv), Lindsey (Jeremiah), Bridget (Rob), Allison (Jeff), Rena (Adam), Emmet, Patricia, Kerry (John), Margaret Mary, Katie, Casey, and Rory; and great-grandchildren, Ainsley, Adelaide, Benjamin, Westley, Raegan, Theo, a niece and nephews, as well as cousins on two continents, including the redoubtable and steadfast Bridie Talty. Left to grieve are many friends from her days at the Census Bureau, Elmhurst Street and District Heights, and Holy Family Parish in Davidsonville, MD.
Anna thrived in her Irish Catholic enclave in metro D.C., and although a child of the depression, her father was employed by the railroad, leaving her with mostly happy childhood memories. She loved her time in high school at St. Patrick’s Academy, attending the annual reunions for the class of 1940 well into her nineties. She had many friends at St. Pat’s and excelled in sport as a member of the varsity basketball team, an avocation that continued when she played on a team at Census. Later in life her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were delighted to discover she was also a maven at bowling duckpins.
Anna met Ray while working for Census where she was a data processor in an emerging automated punch card age. They married at St. James Parish in Mt. Rainier on August 20, 1949, with a reception held in the backyard of her home. Their growing family resided in District Heights, MD where Anna was active in Mt. Calvary parish, and devoted herself to her community and family, which included caring for her mother. Anna and Ray loved socializing as square dancers, camping with family and annual progressive dinners with friends. In 1968 she and Ray realized a dream by purchasing property in the countryside of Anne Arundel County, that they, and five other Mt. Calvary families, acquired in a handshake deal with Annapolis patriarch, Ike Shepard. The compound became known as All Seasons Farm. Anna returned to government service, this time to work for Prince George’s County, where she was proud to serve in the office of the County Executive. After she and Ray built their home in Harwood, she selflessly gave end-of-life care to her mother-in-law, and sister, while launching her children, and some of their children. The home they called Connemara became the center of family activity, hosting multiple wedding receptions and parties in the backyard, in the tradition of her own wedding party.
Anna was an inveterate fan of Washington’s professional football team, including a fanatical devotion to its AM radio broadcast. Though her fandom was long-standing (an early memory was listening to a game with her father on Dec. 7, 1941, when admirals and officers were paged by the public address announcer to report for duty), it was a class for women in the early 1970s that cemented that allegiance by teaching her rules and plays. Her conversion of Ray to this Sunday afternoon obsession was hard fought but, as always, she won him over. Her family will miss the support and love she gave. Without her, they will continue the tradition of holiday gatherings, with too much food, and noise, but no longer will babies be soothed by her wordless “lullaby”. She taught her offspring generosity, well and by example, a lesson they carry forward.
The family is grateful to Hospice of the Chesapeake as well as to Anna’s caregivers at Riva Terrace VI, most especially Marissa, for her kindness and friendship.
Friends are invited to celebrate Anna's life at the Kalas Funeral Home & Crematory, 2973 Solomons Island Rd., Edgewater, MD on Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Holy Family Catholic Church, 826 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville, MD on Tuesday, March 19 at 10 am. Interment Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton, MD. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Development Office, 345 Belden Hill Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 or St. Patrick's Academy Alumnae Association Fund for the Sisters of the Holy Cross, c/o Carol Moseley Gardner, 8420 Dunbar Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20785. Condolences may be made by accessing the link on this page.