Fairport, New York, June 23, 2023. Mary M. Rapp, former school administrator and university educator, died peacefully under Hospice care in her daughter’s home, after a long and courageous struggle with cancer.
Born January 6, 1950 to James Rapp and Felicia Kachowski, Mary grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. After beginning college at Carnegie Mellon, she married Jay Stetzer and moved to Rochester, New York, where the couple had two children, Adam and Alisa.
Mary earned her B.A. and Master’s degrees in education at the University of Rochester. After teaching in private and public elementary schools, she became principal of North Rose Elementary School in Wayne County from 1984-86. She then moved to the Penfield School District where she worked for 20 years as principal of the innovative Harris Hill Elementary School, interim principal at Penfield High School, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education.
After a short retirement from Penfield, she worked another 10 years at the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester, in their Educational Leadership Program as Instructor, Director of the Administrator Certification Program, and administrator coach. During her long career, Mary also taught courses at Nazareth College, supervised teachers in Ireland, and coached teachers and administrators in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Divorced from her first husband, in 1983 Mary met and married Howard Kirschenbaum, an educator, historic preservationist, and father of a daughter Kimara Glaser-Kirschenbaum. For the next 40 years Mary and Howie and their blended family enjoyed a rich life, including frequent travels around the world and times together at their family camp in the Adirondacks.
After retiring from the Warner School, Mary was active in the Rochester community as a docent and education consultant to the Memorial Art Gallery and as member of a women’s book club, women’s research group, the Chatterbox Club of Rochester, Wilmot Cancer Center’s Specialty Oncology Cancer Research Advisory Board, and First Unitarian Church of Rochester. As one friend wrote, “Mary has been a huge force in and around Rochester and has a mighty cadre of supporters.”
She will be remembered for her keen intellect, deep listening, inclusiveness, loving kindness, quick wit and hearty laugh, bright eyes and beautiful smile, curiosity, desire to connect, love of learning, wise mentorship, and adventurous spirit.
She is survived by her husband Howie; son Adam and Renee Stetzer of Pittsford and grandchildren Julia and Cameron; daughter Alisa Stetzer and Steve Maynard of Fairport; step-daughter Kimara and Eric Gustafson of Minneapolis and grandsons Kai, Hugo and Luka.
A memorial service, followed by light refreshments, will be held at First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road, Brighton, on Wednesday, June 28, at 4 pm.CLICK HERE for a map to Church.