BELMONT, Vt. – Mary Louise Dobbs DeCormier, 93, passed away on April 24, 2022 at her cherished family home in Belmont, after a full and vibrant life. The wife of respected musical conductor Robert DeCormier, who passed in 2017, Louise was a creative force in her own right, performing throughout her life as an actress and singer. In later years, acting and writing continued as her passions, as did her fierce love and loyalty to her family and friends.
Born on Sept. 30, 1928, in Nutley, N.J. to Jack Montgomery Dobbs and Catherine Barnes Dobbs, Louise embraced a career as an actress from an early age, studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, and studying dance with Martha Graham.
She met the love of her life, Robert DeCormier, when he was accompanying Paul Robeson on guitar at an intimate recital, and shortly thereafter joined Robert on tour, marking the beginning of an extraordinary love affair and creative partnership that lasted throughout their lives. They married shortly thereafter in 1950.
In addition to touring together with the Freedom Theatre, Louise and Robert recorded several albums together including a series of children songs from around the world, as well as two albums of Woody Guthrie songs for children. She was a singer with Counterpoint, an acappella singing group founded and directed by Robert, as well as one of the Robert DeCormier Singers.
Louise and Robert were the guiding force for the Terezin project, which included concerts of requiems and children’s songs that had been written and performed in the Terezin concentration camp during World War II.
Louise had several movie roles, including one in the 1993 film, “Ethan Frome,” with Liam Neeson, and in 1996’s, “The Spitfire Grill,” with Ellen Burstyn, and also starred in various productions at the Weston Playhouse. She was also a published author, having written a series of mystery books under a pseudonym earlier in her life.
Louise is survived by her daughter Robin DeCormier Timko and her husband George of Cavendish, Vt.; granddaughter Sally Greenberg and husband Adam; and grandson Aaron Greenberg and wife Sandra, along with great-grandchildren Ethan and Lucia of Geneva, Switzerland. She was predeceased by her husband Robert, and dear son Christopher.
A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Christopher DeCormier Memorial Scholarship. Checks can be made out to the Christopher DeCormier Memorial Scholarship, c/o The IMS Dept. of Anthropology, Arts and Sciences 233, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222.