There are so many things to say about my mother, Marie Pappalardo, who was on Flight 175. She was 53 going on 33, so full of life and spunk. She had many enjoyments in her life such as her love of Affirmed, the Triple Crown winning
racehorse, traveling, seeing shows and concerts ranging from opera to rock – the list is endless. She had a Boston accent like no other even after living in California for 12 years – you could tell she was from New England a mile away. She never completely left Massachusetts. She had an annual ritual of coming back here for my birthday, and to replenish her faith and enjoy the Italian pastries at the Feast of the Three Saints.
For people who did not know her, I would say she was hard working, intelligent and very independent. She put herself through college while married and raising a family. Her career as a Controller and Production Manager at ALA
in California was something she took very seriously. She also took very seriously caring for animals, whether it be by donating money or taking care of strays. I remember times when she gathered stray cats from her neighborhood and took them to the vet for necessary shots and to be fixed. (She found homes for most of them, and the others she took care of herself as she did her own two at home, Mickey and Mouse, who were her pride and joy.)
My mom told me that she would someday return to her home in Massachusetts. Our family's only regret is not being able to spend those years to come with her. She was truly one of a kind and the world will never be the same without her.
Tribute submitted by Maria Koutny and Family.
Protector of Cats
Marie Pappalardo's passions were deep and varied. Once, with a friend, she finagled her way into the stall of Affirmed, the Triple Crown-winning racehorse, and hugged him. "Because he always ran with such love, and he was strong, he was something she always loved," said Ms. Pappalardo's daughter, Maria Koutny.
She was profoundly devoted to the Feast of the Three Saints, celebrated on Labor Day weekend at her home church, the Holy Rosary in Lawrence, Mass. When she neared the end of her pregnancy and was told that her daughter would be born that Sunday, she said she would not give birth until she had been to the feast. And she was right.
Ms. Pappalardo, 53, who was returning home to Paramount, Calif., on Flight 175 after visiting the Boston area — for the feast and Ms. Koutny's birthday — was also a devoted protector of cats, catching wild ones and taking them to her vet for shots and spaying.
"She made a hole in her garage so they could come in and eat and get out," Ms. Koutny said. "One was Goofy, one was Daisy, one was Minnie, they all had those kinds of names. Hopefully the person living there now is still feeding the feral cats."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 3, 2002.