Visitation at Main Service
Obituary of Mary Madeline Papianou
Mary Madeline Zissimos Papianou was born on November 26, 1952 in Brooklyn, NY, and passed away of liver cancer on October 25, 2022.
Mary grew up with her first generation Cypriot parents and three older siblings, Bonnie, Stacia, and Jimmy in Woodside, Queens. It was in Queens that her supportive mother taught her to be sensible, frugal, and loyal to family, while her father taught her to live life with love and appreciation for people and nature. Mary took her parents’ teachings and became a woman devoted to her family. And to environmentally friendly practices in her own quirky ways – like reusing wrapping paper, obsessive couponing, and hanging laundry on the line all year long.
But Mary didn’t stay in Queens for long. She spent some time in Cyprus as a teen, where she practiced her Greek and developed a love for Pischies and for travel.
After Cyprus, she went to Colorado to stay with her brother Jimmy. It was here where Mary says she saw “the light” and wanted to settle down. Mary didn’t have to wait long for that to happen. After serving in Vietnam, her soon-to-be-husband, Billy Papianou, drove to Colorado to pick up the love of his life.
At just 18, Mary married Billy, her soulmate and “rock.” She said she couldn’t resist his long hair and rugged flannels. By the time she was 23, Mary had three children whom she devoted her life to. She taught them the values of diligence, honesty, and self-reliance. And how to cook a mean spanakopita.
While Mary’s familial responsibilities were enormous, she always wanted a career. She started at a small, family run video store where she was able to do two of her favorite things: socialize with customers and talk about film. Years later, Mary went to work for the United States Post Office, where she helped people to efficiently mail their bills and messages of love.
Mary continued her love of travel throughout her lifetime traveling all across the country, to Greece, Jerusalem, Costa Rica and - what she would later describe as “the trip of a lifetime'' - Africa.
Mary is survived by her beloved husband Billy; children Eleni and Mike, John and Kelly, and Melissa and Jeff; grandchildren, Mary Madeline, Malcolm John, and William Remsen; and her siblings and many nieces and nephews.
So the next time you have a cup of tea, enjoy a good film, or go on a beautiful vacation, we hope you think of Mary and remember her generous spirit, authenticity, and vitality.
Family and friends are gathering at 10:00 AM Saint John's Greek Orthodox Church, 77 Montauk Hwy, Blue Point, NY before Mary's funeral mass.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at Saint John's Greek Orthodox Church, 77 Montauk Hwy, Blue Point, NY. Burial will follow in Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY
In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated in memory of Mary Madeline Papianou to East End Hospice. Please click on the direct link below to donate OR click the box to the left of the page.
East End Hospice Link: https://www.eeh.org/ways-to-give/donate/