Published in The Capital Gazette on Aug. 13, 2015
Mary D. Stifflemire, of 43 West McKinsey Rd. in Severna Park, MD, died August 10th of
natural causes. She was 94.
Born in New Bern, NC, January 31, 1921, to William F and May H Dunn, Mary had four
brothers: William, John, Robert and Roger Dunn. She was 10 years old when her family
relocated from New Bern to Washington, DC. The family resided on Clifton St. in NW
Washington, DC, and Mary graduated from Central High School (1939).
Mary later lived on Quincy Street and on Eastern Avenue in NE Washington, DC, from
1954 to 1980, when she relocated to Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She was married to Kenneth H. Ramey in 1941. They later divorced, and she remarried,
to Paul F. Stifflemire in 1950. They were also divorced.
Mary lived in Pompano Beach, FL with her longtime companion, Arvis "Bill" Lyman from
1984 until his death in 2004. She relocated to Maryland in 2009.
Mary's professional career included positions as secretary to then Vice President Lyndon
B. Johnson, followed by several years as secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S.
Armed Forces. She was secretary to Brent Skowcroft, National Security Advisor to
President Richard Nixon. She also served as secretary to Alexander Haig, then the
Military Assistant to the Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry
Kissinger. She accompanied President Nixon and Mr. Kissinger on several important
foreign missions, including the 1972 talks in Beijing that began the normalization of
relations with the People's Republic of China, and the signing in January 1973 of the
Paris Peace Accords that formally ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Mary was an active synchronized swimmer, performing with the Aqua Gems at the
Ambassador Hotel in Washington, DC. She was a certified Red Cross swimming
instructor and won numerous swimming medals in the Florida Senior Games.
Mary is survived by two sons, Kenneth Ramey, 73, of Bunker Hill, WV, and Paul
Stifflemire, 64, of Arnold, MD.
She leaves behind six granddaughters: Talia Ramey of College Park, MD; Victoria
Ramey of Germantown, MD; Holly Stifflemire of Pepperell, MA; Heidi Crone of Cincinnati,
OH; Heather Stifflemire of Framingham, MA; and, Grace Stifflemire of Arnold, MD. Mary
also leaves two great-granddaughters, Ella and Cassidy Crone, and two
great-grandsons, Anthony and Dominic Ramey.
A wake will be held at the Barranco & Sons, P.A. Funeral Home in Severna Park
Maryland on Friday August 14, 2015 from 4:00PM to 8:00PM.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. John the Evangelist Church, Saturday August 15
Mary will be buried with her father and mother at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington,
Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Audubon Society.
Barranco & Sons, P.A. Severna Park Funeral Home - Severna Park
495 Ritchie Highway
Severna Park, MD 21146