Mary Ann Powers died suddenly under the full Moon on June 24, 2021 at the Provincetown home of Jimmy McNulty and Raife Menold. The cause was cancer, diagnosed only weeks before. She was 68.
Her care crew provided peace and comfort during her last days, and at the end she was surrounded by loving friends who had opened their hearts and home to her.
Mary Ann was born in Warwick, R.I. on Feb. 23, 1953. She moved to Salem in 1972, and then, drawn by her love for the ocean, to Provincetown in 1976, renting an apartment with a group of five friends, including Jane Raftery and Sue Modrak. “Mary Ann found herself — with many reinventions — and her people in Provincetown,” said Raftery. Her life and influence expanded as she grew in the town.
In the early years, she worked as a server at various Provincetown restaurants and then as a real estate broker with Joe Taves, now of California. After back surgery in 1978, Mary Ann discovered the healing power of massage. That changed her life.
She left for a time to study at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, where she learned Swedish massage, acupressure, polarity, prenatal massage, reflexology, and medical massage. She later studied craniosacral therapy with John Upledger and myofascial release with John Barnes, the leading authority on the technique.
In 1988, she joined Wonderful Hands Massage in Provincetown, where she grew her healing massage therapy practice. Through her work, she attracted many friends who spoke of Mary Ann’s love, support, and kindness. After receiving a massage from Mary Ann, Leslie Lawrence said, she “was struck right away by the feeling that she really cared. Over the 90 minutes she offered many ideas about body mechanics — how to sleep and sit and drive. She recommended many inexpensive ideas for self-care.”
“Her wonderful fingerprints,” Raftery wrote in an email, “are all over so many hearts.”
“She was one of Provincetown’s lovely characters with one of the most wonderful hearts that has ever been given,” said Menold, who with partner McNulty owns Jimmy’s Hideaway on Commercial Street.
In later years, Mary Ann became an Uber driver, known, as Menold put it, to be a “salty P’town character whom her riders adored.”
“I have 45 years of stories of Mary Ann Powers’s perseverance and generosity,” said Raftery, “showing up unheralded for so many.”
She leaves her friend Beau Fillion and her “niece,” Emma Jeanne Fillion, as well as friends Molly Benjamin and her son, Cody.
A gathering to celebrate Mary Ann’s life will be held in Provincetown on Sunday, Sept. 19, with further details to be announced.
Donations in her memory may go to Helping Our Women, 34 Conwell St., Provincetown 02657 or helpingourwomen.org/home/.
To share a memory or leave an online condolence, visit gatelyfuneralservice.com.