MISHAWAKA, IND. – A prayer service will be held Friday, May 24, at 9:15 a.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home, Boardman-Canfield Chapel, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, Youngstown, for Mary Kay Buckley D’Isa, 93. Mary Kay passed away peacefully Monday morning at her residence in Mishawaka, Ind., with her two daughters by her side.
Mary Kay was born on March 22, 1926, in Youngstown, the daughter of the late Judge John J. and Rosalie (Singler) Buckley. She resided in Youngstown for 87 years before moving to Mishawaka in 2014.
On Dec. 30, 1950, Mary Kay married Dr. Frank A. D’Isa (Mechanical Engineering, Youngstown State University), who preceded her in death in 2014. The couple was happily married for 63 years.
Mary Kay is survived by two daughters, Dr. Nancy (John) Turner, a professor of education at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Dr. Jane D’Isa, D.O., Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at South Pointe Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Warrensville Heights. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, Mrs. Katie (Mathew) Nix, Mrs. Erin (Cory) Rotterman, and Jacob Turner, and Liam, Aidan, Sean, and Moira Smith. Her four great-grandchildren are Rosalyn and Jonathan Nix, and Grace and Lilly Rotterman. In addition to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Mary Kay leaves two brothers, Dr. John J. (the late Anne) Buckley, Dr. Charles (Peggy) Buckley; and many nieces and nephews.
Mary Kay graduated from Ursuline High School, received a certificate in Commercial Art from the Richmond School of Art, College of William and Mary, a B.S. in Education (art major) from Youngstown College, and an Master’s in Education (art major) from Kent State University. She was art supervisor in the Austintown Public Schools prior to teaching art part time at Youngstown State University for 36 years. She also taught watercolor painting at the Butler Institute of American Art and many other places.
Mary Kay exhibited her watercolors regionally, state-wide, and nationally, winning many awards. Her work has been accepted in many annual juried shows, including the National Mid-Year Shows at the Butler Institute of American Art, the Pittsburgh National Aqueous Shows, and the Ohio Watercolor Society State Shows.
She is represented in public permanent collections, such as the Butler Institute of American Art, Westminster College, St. Elizabeth Hospital, St. Joseph’s Riverside Hospital in Warren, and Forum Health. Mary Kay is also included in many prestigious private art collections. She had 20 one-person shows.
Mary Kay was elected to membership in the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and to the Ohio Watercolor Society, and served a term as board member in the latter organization. She was a charter member of the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society, a member of the Trumbull Area Artists, St. Joseph Valley Watercolor Society, Catholic Collegiate, Mignonette Garden Club, Mill Creek Center, and Tri Sigma.
Special honors for Mary Kay include having paintings reproduced in two watercolor books entitled Watercolor Your Way and Finding and Improving Your Painting Style, both written by Dr. Carl Schmalz, noted artist and educator. In 1982, she was voted “Woman of the Year” in the YWCA Career Arts Category. In 1991, one of her paintings was selected to be the poster for the 10th Annual YWCA Women Artists Show. In 1996, she was named “Distinguished Alumna of the Year” by her high school alma mater, Ursuline, and in 1997 was selected “Outstanding Art Educator” by the Steel Valley Art Teachers Association.
In 1998 and again in 1999, one of her watercolors was reproduced as a print, all sale profits to benefit the Beatitude House, Youngstown. In 2000, The Butler Institute of American Art presented Mary Kay the first Clyde Singer Medal for life achievement in the visual arts. In 2001, she was inducted into the Ursuline Arts Hall of Fame. In 2005, she received a special honor by the YWCA Women’s Art Show Committee, and also was recognized by the Federation of Women Club. Recently, she received a Watermedia Award for Body of Work from the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society.
The family cherishes many happy memories of gatherings, holidays, and summer vacations in Maine, where Mary Kay painted the coastal landscapes, lighthouses, and flowers. Mary Kay leaves the world a more beautiful place, not only through her watercolors, but through her grace, faith, and caring spirit. She will be greatly missed by family and friends, but her kindness to all will live on as an inspiration in the hearts of many.
Friends may call Thursday, May 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home, Boardman-Canfield Chapel.
The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to Deneen Heckaman, Mary Kay’s caregiver in Indiana.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Art Department at Ursuline High School, 750 Wick Ave., Youngstown, OH 44505; or to Right to Life of Mahoning County, P.O. Box 1074, Youngstown, OH 44501.