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Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker

Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker
  • November 28, 1936 - April 7, 2017
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests contributions be made to either:
  • Decker Endowment
    c/o Hollins University
    P.O. Box 9269
    Roanoke, VA 24020
  • Decker Family Fund at the Coastal Community Foundation
    635 Rutledge Avenue
    Charleston, SC 29403

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“I will miss my cousin greatly. She was a very classy lady who loved her family dearly. Peace and blessings to her whole family. ”
1 of 4 | Posted by: Robert (Robbie) Wolfe - Raleigh, NC

“Blessings on her family. She was a warm and welcoming light to all at Hollins so many years ago and I remember her fondly and with great respect.. ...Read More ยป
2 of 4 | Posted by: A friend

“May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. ”
3 of 4 | Posted by: A friend

“Allen, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Please know that i am sending thoughts and prayers. Linda Turnbow ”
4 of 4 | Posted by: A friend


Mrs. Mary Bernhardt Wolfe Decker, beloved mother, wife, and friend passed away on April 7th, 2017 after a confluence of health concerns. She passed away peacefully at home in Hospice care. Her life-long faith in the promise of resurrection and everlasting life in Christ and the Episcopal Church remained a strength for her.

A funeral service will be held at Grace Church Cathedral in the City of Charleston Thursday, April 13th, 2:00 p.m. Reception will follow in the parish hall. Arrangements by J Henry Stuhr, Inc.

Mrs. Decker was born November 28th, 1936 in Salisbury (Rowan County), North Carolina, the only child of C.H. and Mary Bernhardt Wolfe. The family moved to Henderson (Vance County) North Carolina to further Mr. Wolfe's career in the stone products/quarry industry. The family ties to Central North Carolina remained a strong thread through the entirety of her life and she thoroughly enjoyed supporting the UNC Tar Heels.

Mrs. Decker attended high school in Henderson and at St Mary's School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She continued on to Hollins College (now Hollins University), outside Roanoke, Virginia for her B.A. in art history as a member of the class of 1958. Hollins classmates are the core of her life-long friends and have been a source of love, joy, and support through the twists and turns of life.

In the year after college, Miss Wolfe was employed in Richmond, Virginia, when the offer of a ride to New York City was made available by one James D. Decker II. Courtship ensued and she married Jim on February 13th, 1960 at Holy Innocence Church in Henderson, North Carolina. At the wedding, remarks were made about the full reconciliation of the North and the South being realized at last when this "Northerner" from Upstate New York and a proud, long-standing North Carolinian found a perfect match in each other.

The newlyweds followed Jim's career to far-flung engineering assignments in Adelaide, Australia; Los Angeles, California; London, England; and Athens, Greece interspersed with return stays at the firm's home base in Columbia, South Carolina. In 1978, they moved to the Lowcountry, first to Mount Pleasant, and then to Charleston. Enticed by other possibilities but very happy with their friends, community, and the weather, they remained rooted and raised two sons, Allen DeWitt and John Reynolds.

Mrs. Decker made the most of the couple's love of learning, travel, and discovery through travels around the globe up to the time of Jim's death in 2011. Always active in mind, especially as physical activity waned, Mrs. Decker loved the challenge of competitive Bridge. As an active player at the Charleston Bridge Center, she played regularly and traveled to regional competitions, very nearly achieving Life Master status with the American Contract Bridge League.

An abiding love of learning has steered Mrs. Decker's charitable activities. She established an endowed teaching prize at Hollins University to honor and support secondary teachers. The prize is awarded annually at Hollins' commencement.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests contributions be made to either the Decker Endowment honoring excellence in high school teaching in care of Hollins University (Box 9269, Roanoke, VA 24020) or the Decker Family Fund at the Coastal Community Foundation supporting its mission throughout the Lowcountry (635 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403).

Mrs. Decker is survived by her loving sons Allen D. Decker and John R. Decker, daughters-in-law Maureen Decker and Sherry Showell, and grandchildren James Decker and Mirna Decker.

Upcoming Funeral Services
Funeral Ceremony

Grace Church Cathedral

98 Wentworth Street Charleston, SC 29401