Mary M. Shanahan

Mary M. Shanahan

Mary Lee Matheson Shanahan died peacefully with her family and friends at her side at Hospice House of Pinehurst on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. She was 87 years old and except for this brief illness she had lived in Southern Pines at Penick Village.

Mary Lee was born Oct. 2, 1931, on Long Island, N.Y., to Viola and Martin Matheson. She graduated from The Buckley County Day School in Great Neck, The Cathedral School of St. Mary in Garden City, Pine Manor Jr. College in Wellesley, Mass., Connecticut College in New London, Conn., and the New York School of Interior Design in New York City.

Mrs. Shanahan taught kindergarten before her marriage. Afterward, she enjoyed careers as a Doncaster representative, an interior decorator known as A Better Arrangement (ABA), later adding an antique shop to ABA called Open Occasionally.

A dedicated volunteer, she was active in Planned Parenthood, her children’s schools, her churches, NODA (No One Dies Alone), the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in New York, of which she was still a member, and the Junior League, which gave her friendships she cherished.

An only child, Mrs. Shanahan was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Robert D. Larsen, Frank E. Holmes and Capt. Thomas L. Shanahan; and her son, Christopher D. Larsen. She is survived by her daughter, Brooke Larsen, of Penick Village, Southern Pines.

A memorial service at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines is planned for Tuesday, April 16, at 1 p.m., with the burial of her ashes in the church garden near her son and friends. There will be a reception immediately following in the church parish hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church or the Penick Foundation. Online condolences can be made at

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.