CARRèRE Mary Ellis Tack Carrère, active in civic, charitable and social organizations, died quietly in her sleep in her 93rd year at her home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Born on 4 December 1917, her early years were spent in Manhattan living at the family home on Central Park. Her grandfather Theodore Edward Tack, a pioneer in the oil business in North America, founded with his two brothers the American Petroleum Company in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1892.
Mary Ellis later moved with her family to Tulsa, Oklahoma where her father Theodore E. Tack II ran the Oklahoma exploration arm of the business. Her paternal grandmother was Mary Agnes Cosgrave of New York. Her mother Mary Ellis Leake of New Orleans was the daughter of Hunter Collins Leake, chief counsel for Standard Oil and Illinois Central, prominent & beloved in the community, a former King of Carnival, Rex 1910; and Katherine Donelson Ellis of Magnolia Plantation.
The family of John Ellis, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, had settled in the 1770s in the lower Mississippi Valley and were prominent landowners from Natchez to Terrebonne Parish. Mrs. Carrère as a child spent summers with her sister Katie D. in Hammond, Louisiana at a family plantation, now the University of Southeastern Louisiana; at her grandparents' Garden District home; and the family farm on Lake DeNeveu near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
She attended Monte Cassino preparatory school in Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma and Newcomb College where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority graduating in 1939. In 1941-42, she resided in Manhattan, where her husband was an officer with naval intelligence before shipping off to war, and to be near her Aunt Sally, Sarah Tack Ryan, wife of Allen Aloysius Ryan, son of Thomas Fortune Ryan.
Her godfather and uncle was Augustus Vincent Tack (of New York City & Deerfield, Massachusetts), the renowned American landscape and portrait painter, whose work hangs in many museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Phillips Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Fogg Museum at Harvard, Cleveland Museum of Art and the Memorial Hall Museum of Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts, where Mrs. Carrère donated her Tack art collection, family objets and correspondence. Girl at Door (1901) is on permanent exhibition hanging with pride of place at the entrance to the museum.
She is a member of the society of Descendants of Deerfield. Her Aunt Violet was daughter of American figurative painter George Fuller. Married for 45 years to the late Ernest Auguste Carrère III of New Orleans, they were parents of seven children. She is survived by three sons: Theo Carrère (of Buenos Aires, Argentina), Robert Carrère (of San Francisco, California), and Ernest Carrère IV (of Fresno, California); three daughters Elizabeth Carrère (of Cincinnati, Ohio), Sallie Miller (of Naples, Florida) and Mary Ellis Hasseltine (of Metairie, Louisiana); a sister Sue Tillman formerly of Gulfport, Mississippi and brother Reverend Theodore E. Tack, OSA of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A fourth son, Edward Donelson Carrère predeceased her, as well as her elder sister Katherine Donelson Smith of New Orleans. Mrs. Carrère served as the First Lady of the Navy League of the United States in the 1970s traveling worldwide with her husband, who served as national president, and was a senior partner in the law firm Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denegre and member of the Metropolitan Club of New York City.
Mrs. Carrère, known by many as Sis, was active in charitable organizations, as well as a supporter of the Presbytère donating her mother's parure as queen of Proteus 1910 to the Louisiana State Museum's Carnival collection; a sustaining member of the New Orleans Junior League; a member of the New Orleans Art Museum, she sat on the Board of Directors of the Maison Hospitalière, the French Quarter residence for the elderly, in the late 80s & 90s.
Living most of her adult life in New Orleans, Mrs. Carrère at age 87 evacuated the city prior to hurricane Katrina. As of late 2007 she spent time in Argentina, and from 2008 until her death made Buenos Aires her home. The Memorial Mass in Buenos Aires was followed by cremation. Burial will take place in New Orleans at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home later in time. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory should please be made to Memorial Hall Museum at Historic Deerfield, Box 428, Deerfield MA 01342 or www.deerfield-ma.org.
Published in The Times-Picayune on October 31, 2010