Mary Ann Gauger, a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor, died at home in her sleep on July 22. She had been diagnosed with cancer years ago, her family said. She was 80 years old.
The only child of James Santacroce of Sag Harbor and the former Gladys Radley, a native of Iowa, Mrs. Gauger graduated from Pierson High School and from the Katherine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan. She met Wayne Gauger, who was then in the Navy, in 1954 during a visit to Florida. They married six months later, eventually settling in a house on Suffolk Street, where they raised four children.
Mrs. Gauger had a gift for language, said the family. In addition to writing poetry, she copy-edited manuscripts for a number of writers, among them the playwright and fellow Sag Harbor resident Joe Pintauro.
The family said she shone in the role of wife and mother, and made their Suffolk Street house a gathering spot for friends, relatives, and neighbors, who shared meals and stories and debated philosophy. This continued even during her illness, when she received a succession of visitors, from the preteen children of weekend neighbors to her elementary school classmates.
She is survived by her husband and children, Ann Gauger of Binghamton, N.Y., and Stephen Gauger, Christopher Gauger, and Joseph Gauger, all of Springs. She leaves six grandchildren.
Memorial donations have been suggested to the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps, P.O. Box 209, Sag Harbor 11963, or to the John Jermain Library, earmarked for book purchases, at 34 West Water Street, Sag Harbor 11963.