As a young child she moved to the south side of Chicago, with her mother and stepfather Philip Bradbury. She graduated from Hyde Park High School and then went on to Northland College in Ashland, WI, where she graduated with a B.A. in 1944. She also attended Atelier Julian in Paris.
Mrs. McNamee’s life was dramatically altered at age 15 when her mother succumbed to pneumonia and her stepfather died in the Spanish Civil War, leaving her an orphan. Her siblings Caroline and Jonathan were adopted out and she lived in various foster homes for a while before being taken in by the family of her best friend Alice (Bro) Racher This she always described as one of the best days of her life. After graduating from college in 1944 she found a job in publishing but eventually found her way to NYC where she worked at Time-Life.
In 1948 she made a big gamble and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. She attended the Atelier Julian in order to study life drawing. She found a thrilling life where she met many interesting people, indulged in a life of art and music, a newfound love of food and cooking, and most important she found her life mate Gordon E. McNamee, who she married in 1949. After having the first of their three children in Paris, they returned to the States. As she often said, she had three wonderful years on a one-way ticket. Returning to the East Coast the family lived for 25 years in and around Westport, CT.
In 1975 Mr. and Mrs. McNamee realized their dream, moving permanently to Vermont where they had enjoyed a rustic family cabin in West Wardsboro since the 1950s. They opened a small Army-Navy shop, Mountain Jeanery, in Wilmington, which they owned and operated for more than 30 years before retiring.
Mrs. McNamee is survived by her daughters, Michele McNamee, of West Townshend and Anne Oxley and her husband Gil, of Wilmington; granddaughter, Sarah Galaske and her husband John, of Whitingham; two great-grandsons, David and Kyle Galaske, of Whitingham; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Gordon, in 2012, and her son Ian in 2010. In accordance with her wishes there will be no services. Memorial contributions may be sent to Wardsboro Volunteer Fire & Rescue, PO Box 151, Wardsboro, VT 05355.