Ida Mary Ziegler, 91: Talented and outspoken

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FALMOUTH — Ida Mary Ziegler, 91, of Falmouth, died peacefully Aug. 7 after six weeks of declining health.

She was born April 15, 1922, in Lenore, N.C., a daughter of Stephen and Nellie Smith Costello. 

Ziegler was a longtime New Yorker. Raised and educated in Schenectady, N.Y., she left at the age of 18, moved to Manhattan on a whim and took a job as a secretary.

She was an excellent seamstress and clothing designer, making all her own clothing as well as sewing for many of her friends. After World War II, she was part of a theatre group in Greenwich Village, designing costumes and sets for what would become the well known off-Broadway playhouse, The Circle in the Square. Ziegler spent several happy years in the Village working at the theatre.

She married and went on to have five children. The family left New York City and moved upstate to Woodstock in the early 1960s, where she continued costuming at the Woodstock Playhouse.

After the marriage ended, she moved the children back to the city and raised them as a single mother. Ziegler worked for many years as the secretary for the director of the American Folk Art Museum where she was surrounded by art and culture and the beautiful quilt collection. She retired in her 70s and moved to New Jersey to be near her daughter Robin. She loved being part of that family, helping to look after her three granddaughters.

In 2003, Ziegler moved to Falmouth, making many new friends and a life for herself at Foreside Village.

Always drawn to the ocean, she especially enjoyed walking at Mackworth Island. She took up gardening and bird watching, though never managed to outwit the squirrels that bested even the fanciest birdfeeders.

Always a very talented knitter and quilter, she crafted beautiful blankets for her grandchildren and continued to make her own clothes until her vision failed. Despite being nearly blind from macular degeneration, she remained a snappy dresser always coordinating her outfits with her wildly patterned socks.

Ziegler was an avid reader, keeping up with news and current events. A life-long liberal Democrat, she was thrilled to live long enough to see Barack Obama elected president and to cast her vote for marriage equality in Maine.

Proud of the fact that she “never lost her marbles,” she was able to live in her own home at 91 years of age. A crusty old lady never afraid to speak her mind, Ziegler had a wonderful sense of humor that delighted all her caregivers to her final days.

She is survived by her five children, Robin Haller, and her husband, Karl, of New Jersey; Judith Ziegler, and her husband, Evan Haynes, of North Yarmouth; Bob Ziegler, Michael Ziegler, and his wife, Linda, and Scot Ziegler, and his partner, Barbara Jean, all of New York; and her 10 grandchildren.

The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at VNA Hospice and Brentwood Manor for their care and support. 

There will be no funeral services. Following her wishes, her family and friends will gather in the fall and scatter her ashes to the four winds. 

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