Mary Helen Noga Potunas passed away on January 11, 2017 in Virginia Beach, VA from a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was born on July 12, 1953 in Norfolk, VA to the late CDR Edward L.S. Noga, USN (Ret.) and Mary Margaret Bruns Noga. She was pre-deceased by her parents, a sister, Teresa Noga Toombs Cowan and a nephew, Christopher Toombs. Survivors include her two brothers and seven sisters: Edward (Ed) L.S. Noga, Jr. and wife Maryland of Virginia Beach, VA; Margaret (Peggy) N. Mullin and husband Carl of The Villages, FL; Kathryn (Kathy) N. Salopek of The Villages, FL; John P. Noga and wife Jane of Virginia Beach, VA; Patricia (Patti) N. Davis of Virginia Beach, VA; Jean N. Borkowski and husband Mike of Norfolk, VA; Susan N. Kane and husband Mike of Winter Park, FL; Sharon N. Harrell and husband Donald of The Villages, FL and Carolyn N. Newbern of Port Orange, FL. She also leaves behind her beloved Aunt Shirley Bruns Gillikin of Evans, GA; Aunt Joanne J. Bruns of Norfolk, VA; Aunt Aggie Noga Smith of New Castle, PA, Uncle Raymond Bruns and wife Merle of Chesapeake, VA and many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces, great nephews, and a host of loving friends.
Mary grew up in Norfolk, VA and attended Holy Trinity Elementary and Granby High Schools. She was the 5th of 11 kids and part of a U.S. Navy military family which, during her childhood, moved between Norfolk VA, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Mechanicsburg PA and Rockville MD, finally settling again in Norfolk VA. Her Noga family lived on Lafayette AVE and was one of the famous families who lived on “Vatican Circle” — two streets (Cherry and Lafayette) which had numerous homes where there were large numbers (usually 7-12) of Catholic kids per family. Mary made tons of friends in that neighborhood!!
After graduation, Mary moved to Roslyn, NY where she was a big part of the young music scene working at a local club, My Father’s Place, where she enjoyed many parties with all the up and coming entertainment of that era — George Carlin, Livingston Taylor, Richie Havens and many others. Mary was an extremely accomplished seamstress so she later moved to Los Angeles, CA where she began working at a swimsuit factory. She had a keen eye for fashion so it wasn’t long after, that her talents were noticed, and she was privileged to make costumes for Sonny and Cher Bono when they had their famous television show. She was also hired by none other than Elton John to create a new cover for his piano!!
Mary had many talents, but among them, one of her hidden talents was singing. Mary was very close friends with members of the infamous “Southern Rock” Charlie Daniels Band, especially to Joel “Taz” DiGregorio (keyboards and vocals). Taz was so enthralled with Mary’s perfect pitch and magical lilting voice that he had her sing backup on the band’s very first album released in 1971 titled “Charlie Daniels”. Years later, she was backstage one night after a concert. A guy came up to Charlie with an armful of all their albums for Charlie to autograph. Taz noticed that one of the albums that the guy was holding was their first album, so he turned to Mary and said “you sang backup on this one, so you need to sign it too” — so she did!
After a few years in NYC and LA, Mary moved back home to Norfolk. She was a true original and VERY spirited “Ocean View” girl who loved going to all the local hot spots like Thirsty Camel and Greenies! Mary loved to tell stories, joke and just hang out with friends at the Ocean View beaches. She was one of the “cool” kids and was NEVER afraid to dance to the beat of a different drummer!! She was so fun loving, had a contagious smile, a unique sense of humor and could always make you laugh. But, most of all, she loved her family dearly and two of her great nephews as her own, Liam and Dylan, who lovingly nicknamed her CAMY for their “crazy Aunt Mary”. We are comforted to know that Camy is now at peace in her new “super sparkly” home with her God and all those family and friends who passed before her.
True to her giving nature, Mary requested her remains be donated to medical science so that cures for diseases like cancer can be discovered.
The Noga family wishes to thank all the angels who loved, cared for and supported Mary during this past year. Memorial donations may be made in Mary’s memory to the American Cancer Society.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Remembrance at 5:30pm on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 712 Little Neck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (Phone: (757) 340-7231)
After Mass at 7:00pm, family and friends are invited to join us in a memorial celebration of Mary Helen Noga Potunas’s life at the home of Ed and Maryland Noga. (email [email protected] for address and directions)
Arrangements were provided by Altmeyer Funeral Home, Southside.
All her family and friends are encouraged to leave their Online condolences at www.altmeyerfuneralandcremation.com