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Mary Deal

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By The Staff

Mary Deal, a prominent Los Alamos Realtor, entrepreneur, community activist and visionary, died Tuesday of natural causes at Los Alamos Medical Center with her husband Bill Deal and daughters at her side. She was 82.Mary Viola McCoy was born on April 23, 1925, in Crosbyton, Texas. She was raised in west Texas, just up the road from Merkel on the family’s modest cotton farm. Mary learned what hard work was from the beginning. The farmhouse she grew up in was built of rough-sawn barn planks with daylight streaming through the joints, had no indoor plumbing or electricity, and only an oil stove for heating and cooking.Mary, along with her mother, father, four brothers – Medford, Melvin, Minford and Merkel Jimmy – and sister Morelle, picked cotton until their fingers were raw and ran the farm. Mary once said, “If I never see a cotton boll again, it will be too soon.”“We didn’t have much, but the food was good and plentiful, and we stayed warm under the quilts mother made and we were happy. We didn’t know anything else,” her youngest brother Merkel Jimmy said.Mary wanted to get an education in order to get off the farm. Whenever she set her sights to accomplish something, she never gave up until she achieved her goals. Upon graduation from Draughon’s Business College and Trinity University, she went to work as an archival analyst for the federal government at Fort Sam Houston and Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. It was here in Austin where she met her future husband, Bill Deal, on a blind date. Eight months later, Aug. 27, 1949, they were married.Three days after Bill Deal’s oral exams on Oct. 13, 1950, they moved to Los Alamos, where Bill was employed at GMX-6 and Mary went to work as a Cyclotron operator for P-Division.Here in Los Alamos, Mary and Bill had their four children, Becky, Kate Lou, MaryAnne and Bill in ‘53, ’55, ’57 and ’61.In 1965, Bill Deal became group leader of GMX-6 and in 1972 he was appointed M-Division leader.According to her family, Mary loved raising her kids and thoroughly enjoyed her years as a housewife. She was an excellent cook and seamstress. Her children remember her being very involved in their lives as their Brownies troop leader and “team mom” for whatever they were involved in. She also remained active in the community during her housewife years in many ways. She was on numerous county government committees, including the League of Women Voters and the Hospital Auxiliary. She was instrumental in the development of the East Park for open space, rather than a housing development. The park is still sometimes referred to as “Mary Deal Park.”Mary’s art was expressed through flowers. She was very active in the local garden clubs. She was a national qualified flower show judge, participating in local, district, state and national levels. Many say her floral arrangements truly expressed her love and passion for life. Mary was an instrumental member and volunteer salesperson of the nonprofit Pajarito Acres Development Association in the early ’60s. Having enjoyed this work so much, Mary decided she liked real estate, and so got her real estate license in 1965. She decided to open her own business, Mary Deal Realty, in 1966. Many of the women who went to work for Mary later opened their own brokerages.Mary revolutionized the way women thought about themselves and their roles in Los Alamos, said Donna Littlejohn, one of Mary’s first associates.“I would not be where I am today if Mary hadn’t insisted that I take the Real Estate exam and go to work for her,” Littlejohn said. “Everything I know now in finance and business is because of Mary. She really was the benefactor for women here in Los Alamos.”Mary had a gift for helping people to invest in their first home, when it often seemed impossible. Selling real estate was much more than a business for her. She was passionate and creative about helping people. She took a leading role in weaning Los Alamos off of government housing. She helped many people “trade up” over time ending up with great investments. “Mary was a pioneer in the real estate business and an investor with vision," said Bill Enloe, CEO of Los Alamos National Bank. "She worked with all types of people and she will be missed very much.”Mary’s business accomplishments include being first president of the Los Alamos Board of Realtors, State President of the Real Estate Association of New Mexico (1986), Los Alamos’ Realtor of the Year and the State of New Mexico Realtor of the Year (1989). She was active also in the National Association of Realtors. In 2003, Bill and Mary Deal built the Reel Deal Theater and dedicated it to the people of Los Alamos with this statement. “We commit this theater to the people of Los Alamos for their entertainment and thank them for their unwavering help and encouragement.”Mary was preceded in death by her parents Luteenie McCoy Beck and J.A. McCoy, and brother Medford McCoy.Mary is survived by her beloved husband of 58 years, Bill Deal; daughter Rebecca and her husband Richard McAfee of Virginia; daughter Kate and her husband Jim O’Donnell of Los Alamos; daughter Mary Anne and her husband Tim Beard of Los Alamos; son Bill Deal (III) and wife Lisa of California; grandchildren: Mary Kate, Joey, Melissa and Jamie McAfee; Will, Maria and Ella O’Donnell; Ashley, Molly and Gary Beard; and Amanda and William Deal. She is also survived by sister Morelle Miller of Denton, Texas; brother Melvin McCoy of Sweetwater, Texas; Miniford McCoy of Tuttle, Okla.; Merkel Jimmy of St. Jo, Texas; and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. Sunday at the Berardinelli Funeral Home. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the United Church in Los Alamos.