Mary (Paulos), passed away on September 29, 2013, two weeks short of her ninetieth birthday.
A child of the Great Depression, she started working at just twelve after her father's diner went bankrupt, waitressing for Libby's Hot Dogs in Paterson where she'd spend her days singing along to music playing on the juke box.
Her family was among the first members of St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, and she was intensely proud of that heritage.
During World War II, she took the symbol of "Rosie the Riveter" to heart and became one of the first women to join the thousands of men working for Wright Aeronautical, operating an OD grinder. In the peacetime that followed, she sold dresses for Dainty Cotton's, a downtown shop where she met her future husband, Louis, a police officer who regularly drove his motorcycle past the store. Their marriage lasted nearly sixty years.
They bought a tiny house on 27th street in Paterson to raise their two daughters, beginning what she would always call the happiest years of her life, filled with kids' parties, PTA meetings and frequent beach trips to Asbury Park.
She had an extremely generous spirit, and would host celebrations for hospitalized veterans, visit nursing home patients, and bring meals to all the elderly in her neighborhood. Most of her adult life, however, was spent caring for her beloved sisters and brother, who all suffered through long illnesses. But in spite of the sadness and sacrifice this caused, it was more than offset by the love and pride she felt for her grandchildren, Katie and Alex.
She will be greatly missed by her family, and the small group of people who truly knew her.
A family funeral was held earlier in the week. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mary may be made to
, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142.