Mary Louise Read Ortoleva


Mary Ortoleva, a longtime resident of the Village of Ballston Spa, died November 3, 2018 after a brief hospitalization. Mary was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on December 25th, 1920, to Lara Wolf and Augustus Lytle Read, both of whom predeceased her. Her sisters Shirley Lee Read Sabatini Brown and Norma Jean Fresoni also predeceased her. Mary is survived by her daughters Elaine Youngblood (Jerry) and Lori Agnew (Ron), her grandchildren Flagg and Megan Youngblood, many nieces and nephews, and two cousins, to whom she was affectionately known as “Aunt Mimi.”

Mary and her family moved from Lincoln to Ballston Spa in 1931, joining her grandparents Frank and Lucretia and her great grandfather Jeremiah Gullian, a veteran of the Civil War, at the Wolf family farm on Brownell Road in Malta. Mary attended the one room schoolhouse at the corner of East High Street and Van Aernem Road. Mary graduated from Ballston Spa High School in 1938 and is the last surviving member of her class.

Through the matchmaking efforts of Rose Strianese in 1939, Mary met and married Roy Ortoleva, the owner of the Ballston Food Market on Milton Avenue, which Roy operated with his brothers Mike and Arman through the early 1970s. Roy died in December 1989, three months after he and Mary celebrated their 50th anniversary with a large family gathering on Saratoga Lake.

Mary was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, serving on the altar guild sixty-five years, helping with the many hosted suppers and festivals, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering weekly at the community food pantry. She became a Brownie troop leader in 1948, continuing to serve as a Girl Scout leader for over twenty-five years, including serving as an advisor to girls attending Triangle. Mary was active with the Ballston Spa Garden Club for over forty years, attending luncheons well into her early nineties, the Saratoga chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Saratoga Court Order of the Amaranth, and the Saratoga chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, holding various offices in each over the years. Mary was an avid bridge player over the years with several notable Ballston ladies including Emilie Arff, Vesta Dygert, Jean Puckhaber, Veeda Tooper, Eunice Schallehn and Ruth Dibelius.

Mary worked as a secretary at Electric Boat in West Milton and then a clerk for both the Village of Ballston Spa and the Saratoga County Motor Vehicles office, where she processed countless driver’s licenses for local teenagers. Mary will be remembered for many things—her lovely blonde hair, her cheery spirit, her indomitable determination, and her decades of selfless service to others and to her church.

A memorial service for Mary will be held at 11am on Thursday, December 13th at the chapel at Christ Church on West High Street in Ballston Spa, with greetings with family and friends at 10am. In lieu of flowers, donations to Guide Dogs for the Blind (www.GuideDogs.com) or the Saratoga County Animal Shelter would be appreciated in Mary’s memory.

Guest Book

Shirley (Voehringer) Wilkins

Lori, so sorry to learn of the passing of your Mom. May time and fond memories bring you peace and comfort.

William F. Albers

My sister Kay and I extend our deepest sympathy to Mary's many immediate survivors for their great loss.

All of us who have known Mary's warm and gentle nature realize that she now rests securely in the presence of God the Father and Heavenly Glory! Amen.

MaryAlice Groom

Dear Lori and family,
So sorry for the loss of your dear Mother.
Sending my thoughts and prayers.
MaryAlice