Maria Theresa (Fenstad) Richardson, age 80, of Key Largo, Fla., passed away Monday, June 24, 2013, at her home after a brief illness. Maria was born in Ocean County, Point Pleasant, N.J., on Aug. 27, 1932. She was predeceased by her parents, Clelia Lo Duca and Hans Odin Lee Fenstad Sr., and her husband, Capt. E.W. Richardson. She is survived by her sister Pauline Schaller and brothers Lee Jr., Harry and Knute Fenstad as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Maria graduated from Dickinson High School in Jersey City, N.J., and received a degree from Montclair State Teachers College in New Jersey. Maria lived in Miami, Fla., from 1956 to 1966 and worked as a stewardess for Eastern Airlines for 10 years in the old glamorous days. In 1976, she moved to Key Largo with her husband. Maria worked for and retired from Tradewinds Investments, a Key Largo real estate firm.
Ms. Richardson was active in the community and served as a role model to her many friends. A member of the former Hemlock Society, Maria left her body to science at the University of Miami.
Maria was a founding member and past president of the Upper Keys Chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women). A strong feminist, Maria marched on both Washington and Tallahassee for women's rights. She was also a longtime BPW (Business and Professional Women) member. Maria was active with the Domestic Abuse Shelter, where she served as a court observer and victims advocate. As a Silverliner (retired Eastern Airlines stewardess), she was involved with the Keys chapter's 28-year "Flight to the North Pole" in which 600 local schoolchildren and disabled youth in Key West were treated to a party to meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and receive presents.
Maria was a member of the Upper Keys AARP, Senior Moments and Friends of Key Largo Library. She also served as the chair of the Monroe County Library Advisory Board. A longtime Democrat, one of the highlights of her life was her work with the George McGovern presidential campaign.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Upper Keys NOW for the Maria Richardson Scholarship for an adult returning to school. Please make your check out to Upper Keys NOW and note "Maria Richardson Scholarship" on it. Mail to Upper Keys NOW, c/o 188 Plantation Drive, Tavernier, FL 33070.
A celebration of life will be held for Maria from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at the Key Largo Civic Club, 209 Ocean Bay Drive, Mile Marker 99.8, oceanside, Key Largo, FL 33037, across the street from the Lions Club and behind Capitol Bank.