Mary Vanessa (Antonio) Wheatley, 44, beloved wife of Joe Wheatley passed away in her home in Warrenton, Virginia on March 22, 2020. She was born September 10, 1975; the daughter of the late Thomas and Estelle (Parkos) Antonio. Mary grew up in her parents’ footsteps at their family restaurant, Antonio’s of Simsbury, and became immersed in the community of Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hartford, CT.
Mary graduated from Simsbury High School and then earned a B.A. from Stetson University and a Master’s in Psychology from Georgia College. She began her career at Peace River Community Services managing their crisis unit in Bartow, Florida. She then joined Gift of Life Community Services where she managed their foster care system and found her passion and love of children. She continued her career with American Adoption as the Florida Executive Director, and then as the Executive Director at Heart of Adoptions centered in Tampa. She served on the board of the Florida Adoption Council (floridaadoptioncouncil.com ) and took great pride in organizing, planning and carrying out the Annual FAC conference for many years. Mary was an expert in her field, admired and respected by both the domestic and international adoption community. She helped create hundreds of families throughout her career and made a memorable mark on the world.
Mary merrily married the love of her life, Joe, in Newport, RI on October 12, 2002. They were blessed with two beautiful daughters, Estelle Katherine (14) and Stephanie Marie (almost 11) who were the center of her life. They lived for many years in Tarpon Springs, Florida where Mary was active in their daughters’ school activities, cheerleading tournaments, Girl Scouts, as well as St. George Greek Orthodox Church in New Port Richey, Florida.
More than anything, Mary cherished family and traditions. She planned memorable holiday celebrations that brought joy to her family and so many others. Her warm, compassionate attitude and loving heart made it a privilege to call her Mommy, Honey, Sister, Auntie Mary, Nouna, Cousin and Friend.
Along with her husband and daughters, Mary will be dearly missed by her sister Leah Ketcham and her husband John; her brother Steven Antonio and his wife Lisa; her brother-in-law Tom Wheatley and his wife Denise; her nephews and nieces: Olivia, Katherine, Nicky, Tommy and Johnny. Mary was also a proud stepmother to Valerie Wheatley and her son Deklyn. Additionally, she leaves a close-knit family of aunts, uncles, cousins and numerous friends and colleagues. We will all miss her beautiful smile, infectious laugh, witty sense of humor, and captivating detailed storytelling. What we wouldn’t give to pull up a chair right now and listen to another one of her amazing memories. Mary, we love you.
Sadly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Mary’s family is unable to host a funeral or memorial at this time. Donations in Mary’s name would be appreciated to the Saint Francis Fund through the Heart of Adoptions Alliance, 418 West Platt Street, Suite C, Tampa, FL 33606. You can also donate through their website .
Please visit Mary’s “Book of Memories” at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online condolences.