NEW YORK – Mary N. Apostle, born in Staten Island 103 years ago, the last remaining of nine siblings, passed away on June 5.
Her late husband, Nicholas, was founder of the Riverdale Funeral Home (RFH), located in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, just south of the Riverdale area of the Bronx.
For over half a century, RFH has served various communities in and around New York City, and for decades was the primary source for funeral arrangements by the once-bustling Greek-American community of Washington Heights.
According to RFH’s website, in addition to being Nicholas’ loving wife, Mary Apostle was
“devoted mother of Basil and Maria, Gregory and Maria, and the late Christos and Jim and mother-in-law of Athena Apostle. Loving grandmother of Alexander, Gregory and Cheryl, Nicholas and Nora, Christopher and Stephanie, Andrew and Denise, Maria Nicole and Andrea and Paul Lauterback. Adored great grandmother to Zachary, Olivia, Gregory, Jason, Catherine, Lily, Elle, Gabriella, Daniella, Avery, and Hayden. She is also survived by many nephews and nieces and cousins. She will repose at The Riverdale Funeral Home Inc, 5044 Broadway on June 9, 3-8PM. A second visitation will be held at Holy Trinity Church, 10 Mill Road, New Rochelle on June 10, 10-11AM. Service to follow at Holy Trinity Church at 11AM. Burial will take place at Mount Hope Cemetery.”
In its February 23, 2013 edition, The National Herald wrote about her 100th birthday celebration in New Rochelle. Excerpts from that article follow:
“Mary Apostle was born on February 18, 1913 and 100 years later her friends and family gathered to celebrate her life and reflect back some of the love that has shined from her for a century.
“In the corner of the hall was remarkable photo history of Apostle’s life. Scenes from weddings, community picnics, trips to Greece and across America, and family life as children, nieces, and nephews grew up provided happy punctuation to the timeline of history.
Wars, brutal states like the Soviet Union, and natural and manmade disasters come and go, but the display and the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that filled the hall were a testament to the enduring beauty of life and the life of the beautiful woman they all came to celebrate.
“Apostle was one of nine children. Her parents, Vasilios and Theodora Katsaros, were from the village of Perko near Nafpaktos in Central Greece.
“Their house was also the first home of what became the church of Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, which is where she married Nicholas C. Apostle. The Staten Island Ferry took him to her home for the meeting which ultimately led to an arranged marriage on January 18, 1931. The couple and their guests then made their way to the Times Square Hotel for their reception.
“Nicholas passed through Ellis Island at the age of 13. His family was from Stranoma, another village close to Nafpaktos. He joined his brother George’s funeral business in Manhattan, and he eventually became a funeral director himself.
“Nicholas’ father passed away in 1968 but Gregory, who runs the family funeral home business, the Riverdale Funeral Home, puts what he learned from him into practice every day. ‘Be nice to the people. Service them. Give them what they want. He told me ‘they don’t want to call you, but they have to.’
“The family lived in Manhattan before setting into their home in nearby Riverdale. Mary became a member of the Church of St. Spyridon, as were all the family members until they moved to the suburbs. She was an active member of the Philoptochos Society.
The evening’s commemorative program noted: ‘Over the years, many of Mom’s relatives have left us. Some too young! Her uncles and aunts, siblings and her cousins and nephews and nieces. We are sure they are with us in spirit. They live in all of us.’”