Mary Rose MehlAugust 12, 1926 ~ September 15, 2017 (age 91)
Mary Rose Mehl (nee Doyle) passed away peacefully at home on September 15 2017. She was the beloved wife of Captain James Patrick Mehl (USN Ret.) who preceded her in death by 17 days on August 29 2017.
Mary was born in Jamaica NY in 1926. She graduated from Our Lady of Wisdom Academy and attended Manhattanville College. She and Jimmy were married in 1955, and for 61 years Mary was the model of the Navy wife. Jimmy would joke that she had the harder job, raising their 2 children Rosemary Mehl Balady and James Mehl, Jr while he was overseas. She bravely and lovingly raised her children alone while Captain Mehl was a prisoner of war in Hanoi Vietnam from 1967-1973. During the years of Jim’s capture, Mary became a strong voice for the POWs and MIAs. As a member of the National League of Families of POWs and MIAs she advocated for their humane treatment and safe return, including meeting with the North Vietnamese delegation in Geneva, Switzerland. She also was a mentor and friend to the younger wives. Of Mary and the other families, President Richard Nixon said, when he announced the end of the Viet Nam war in 1973, “…In particular, I would like to say a word to some of the bravest people I have ever met-the wives, the children, the families of our prisoners of war and the missing in action. When others called on us to settle on any terms, you had the courage to stand for the right kind of peace so that those who died and those who suffered would not have died and suffered in vain, and so that, where this generation knew war, the next generation would know peace. Nothing means more to me at this moment than the fact that your long vigil is coming to an end.”
On his return, the family moved to Alexandria, VA where Captain Mehl completed his Navy career, and held several jobs after retirement from the Navy. In addition to being a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, Mary was for many years a member of the Alexandria Hospital Auxiliary. She enjoyed bringing the Hospital’s Little Shop gift cart to patient rooms in the early years, and later spent many happy hours working in the Hospital’ s Little Shop, including volunteering to be the Shop’s toy buyer.
In addition to her children, she is survived by grandsons Stephen and Andrew Balady, a brother Lawrence J. Doyle, niece Marianna Doyle, nephew Christopher Doyle, niece Jane Davis and grandniece Catherine Davis.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the wonderful caregivers from Lighthouse Healthcare Inc. and Capitol Caring Hospice. Mary will be interred with her husband at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery