Mary Edna Charlotte Vecchio Pappalardo left this world on the morning of January 7 at the distinguished age of 103 in Bethlehem, PA due to complications from COVID-19. In her final days, she was comfortable, in a peaceful place, and surrounded by music and family.
Mary (aka Aunt Mary, Mom, Grandma, Mom-mom, Mataji, GGMa, Jomba) was born Mary Vecchio in September 1917 in New York City, the youngest of thirteen children of Italian immigrants. Over the years, she was a resident of Lakeview, NY; Malverne, NY; Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA; East Stroudsburg, PA; Holiday, FL; Gainesville, FL; Hilo, HI; and Bethlehem, PA.
She survived the last global pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, two World Wars, a forced relocation, and even the 1962 Mets season. Over a century’s worth of changes big and small, Mary’s steadfast faith and indefatigable good humor guided her, and she took it all in stride, an ever-bright and buoyant light in the world around her. She was an educator, a care-giver, a storyteller, a sage, an endless provider. She was a babysitter, a Mets fan, a musician, a poet, a generous hostess, a relentless traveler, and a shrewd card player. She was a matriarch. She was known and loved for her warmth, her boisterous laugh, her endless stories, her boundless love of life, her extraordinary faith, her daily walks and talks with God, and her signature nightly glass of red wine. Mary’s memoirs can be found at theMaryEdna.com
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, twelve brothers and sisters, her husband Salvatore, her son Paul, and daughter-in-law Lisa. She is survived by: her daughters Rosemary Piazza and Jean Prem, her sons and daughters-in-law Sal and Joanne Pappalardo, Peter and Lynn Pappalardo, and Frank and Michele Pappalardo, as well as 19 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and countless cousins, nephews, and nieces in both the Vecchio and Pappalardo families. A notorious chatterbox, she is also survived by an unknowable host of friends, acquaintances, associates, and fans.
It is a cruel injustice that a global pandemic will prevent a proper celebration of her prodigious life at this time. A Catholic mass and funeral will be held for immediate family only. A more fitting celebration of her life will take place on a future date. In lieu of flowers or other considerations, a donation may be made in her generous and ever-compassionate name to your local food pantry to help feed those in need in these trying times.