Mary Helen Noga Potunas

July 12, 1953 - January 11, 2017

07/12/1953 - 01/11/2017

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 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

Notify of
10 Condolences
Inline Feedbacks
View all condolences
Mike & Laura Reese
6 years ago

To all the Nogas: Such a wonderful tribute and remembrance of Mary. We never knew of all of her talents; just her fun loving ways!!! Her memory lives on through all of you!!

Patricia Crump
6 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you Jean, as you remember all the wonderful times with your sister. May you feel God’s love.

Billy Rickman
6 years ago

Sending thoughts and prayers to the family during this time.m

Linda Lee
6 years ago

Mary was a very special friend and I am so grateful for the time we spent together especially near the end of her life where we became particularly close. I will miss her dearly! My thoughts and prayers are with all her sisters and brothers and other family members. She spoke of you all with so much love in her heart! Now she is at peace and with her loved ones who passed before her.

Peggy Tyminski
6 years ago

Mary and I went thru school together Holy Trinity & Granby. We just got reconnected last year and was having fun with Facebook and getting reconnected. She was a brave and courageous woman who will be missed.

Sue Lenhart
6 years ago

“SPONTANEOUS” is the word that comes to mind when I think of Mary. We were high school and beyond buds. I had not seen her in about 5 years but she crossed my mind quite a bit just recently. Wanted to catch up with her!!

Janell McGowan
6 years ago

So very sorry for your loss. Love and prayers to the Noga family. May you all feel her love in your memories of her.

Renee Camden
6 years ago

So sorry for your loss Patty. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Edward Anderson
6 years ago

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you all …Edward Anderson and family

Lisa Barton
6 years ago

What a loving beautiful tribute !! Mary Rest In Peace ! My love and prayers to all of you.