Ed Doyle, 70, of Saugerties, New York, (no relation to any of the local Doyles), in Ulster County, (about 100 miles from here) says he thinks it was about five or so years ago when he found the painting. What he can’t remember is where he bought it or what he paid for it.

He guesstimates it was at a garage sale or flea market, maybe an estate sale, because though he is not an art snob, he does appreciate a really well done painting. So he took this painting, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, home and it sat somewhere in his home for years. He says he tried a few times to hang it somewhere.

“But I had no luck,” Doyle says. “I have a nice-sized house, but what I do not have is a lot of wall space. So there were times I thought to myself, ‘hmm, that would look good there,’ and then when I’d go to put it up, the space was too small. So the piece just kind of stuck with me with noplace to go.”

As luck would have it, though, he again came across the painting a few weeks ago, and he noticed, for the first time, that the painter left a signature on it in the bottom-right corner. So he decided to try a Google search.

“I really like to know about the painters whose work I have,” Doyle says. “So I did the Google search, ‘Mary Tortoreti and artist,’ and up came, unfortunately, her obituary from 2016. I was so disappointed she was gone, but then I got to reading about her and I was certain I had the right person. The obituary noted she loved to paint, cross that off, and she and her husband loved trips to Cape Cod, and this was a Cape Cod painting, so cross that off, too. It was definitely hers. And she just seemed like the type of woman I wished I had known in life.”

The Mary Tortoreti he references, of course, is the late former matriarch and owner of The Observer, the mother of our current co-owners, Lisa M. Feorenzo and Tina Feorenzo. Indeed, our Mary loved painting and occasionally, she and her Tony — late husband Anthony Tortoreti — loved hopping in their traveling van to take random, unplanned trips to the Cape.

So while we can’t be sure just when Mary created this work of art, we’re pretty confident it was either done whilst she and Tony visited the Cape, or it was at the very least inspired by one of those random trips. And while Lisa, nor Tina, nor anyone else, can figure out how this painting got to where it did — Mary never sold her artwork (unless she did and didn’t tell us), we can presume it got to Saugerties because she and Tony once had a home in Hyde Park, New York, Dutchess County, once also of the home of President Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt, itself about 80 miles from here.

Now, since Doyle was confident he found his painter, he wanted to take this a step further.

“This painting, beautiful as it is, probably would have some major significance to someone who knew Mary and who loved Mary,” Doyle says. “So since The Observer was mentioned in her obituary and since it was where I found the obit, I did some digging, having read who her survivors were — and I found Lisa. I then decided to contact her to see if she’d like the painting.”

And that is exactly what Doyle did, much to the absolute amazement of our Lisa, who got an email from Doyle a few weeks ago and who couldn’t believe what she was reading. It was so emotional that she called yours truly immediately after she got the email and asked me to look at my own email. It was a forward of Doyle’s — and looking at the painting was like Mary was brought back to us one more time for good measure.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Feorenzo recalls of Doyle’s email. “He sent an attachment photo of the painting and sure enough, it was mom’s. Her signature was plain as day at the bottom of it. It was very emotional to have someone I’ve never met contact me with a piece of history that to Tina and to me is priceless. ”

And that’s part of the reason Doyle’s email and kindness goes even further than what meets the surface.

You see, he wants to give the painting to Lisa and Tina to add to their collections that already don the walls in each of their homes. It’s something the sisters already treasure, though the painting still isn’t in hand — though it will be soon.

For Doyle, it was cathartic — and for good reason.

The 70-year-old Doyle was born to two deaf parents and there isn’t much by way of photos of his youth. However, someone he knew had what he estimates was an 8mm video of him and his late parents from his childhood.

He put off asking to see the video. And, as luck would have it, the person who possessed it died before he could get to see it. And, in an even greater twist of fate, the offspring of the video holders also died, not too long after their parents did. She as close as he was to seeing this video of himself as a child, it never happened.

“But I hope bringing this joyful piece back to Lisa will bring her comfort, because a part of Mary, no longer here physically, will be with her and her sister yet again — and that is exactly where it belongs. And maybe, just maybe, because of my deed, there will be karma of sorts that allows me to eventually see that video. It won’t have sound, but seeing it would be priceless.”

As priceless as Mary’s painting, no doubt, will be once Lisa and Tina may reclaim it.

Oh, and before anyone worries, Doyle wants nothing for the painting he may have paid $5 or $10 for.

“It will mean more to them than it ever could for me, as nice as it is,” Doyle says. “That’s what I let Lisa know right away I wasn’t looking to extort her for money or anything. When they reclaim it, it will be exactly where it belongs — in their hands. Her artwork was totally amazing. The control she had over that teeny brush is Smithsonian. Must have been a meditative activity for her.”

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.