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Mary Helen Efthimion

August 29, 1928 ~ April 14, 2020 (age 91)

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“Oh who will walk a mile with me Along life’s merry way?” – Henry van Dyke

A quote captured from Mary’s Our Lady of the Elms College 1950s yearbook. The comments provided in her profile:


                       …Tireless Editor-in-Chief of Elmata…

Inexhaustible supply of side remarks…

That quizzical raise of the eyebrow…

…Ready wit paralleled by deep thought…

 held true throughout her 92 year life and provide insight to whom I often described as “the smartest person that I ever met”; a brilliant person, with an eye for detail and a sarcastic wit. Mary was a devout catholic with a passion for singing in the choir and donating to many, many charities.

 Born August 1928 to first generation emigrants Louis (Portugal) and Helen Hessian (Galway, Ireland).  Mary, her sister Margaret E. Whitehead (“Peg”) and their parents made their home in Newport, RI.

Mary came from a modest background, and used her brilliant mind to earn a B.S. in Biology from Our Lady of the Elms, then a M.S. in Biology from Boston College, and finally a Ph.D. in Biological Science from Columbia University.

 During her time at Columbia University, she met another student, Philip Efthimion, at Columbia’s the Teachers College. In August 1960 they married in Hempstead, NY and spent the next 59 years together.

Dr. Mary Efthimion was a distinguished, tenured professor at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY for over 30 years. Dr. E was also an Adjunct Professor of Biology at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.  She taught Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Bacteriology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Histology, Ecology, Botany and Pathophysiology. That is a lot of ‘ologies’…

Dr. E, as her nursing students fondly referred to her, was a feared, but revered professor. She was only tough on her students because she knew the importance of the role that these future nurses, doctors and healthcare workers would be playing to care, treat and heal their patients as evidenced by today’s tragic events.

Beyond the rigors of her teaching schedule, Mary conducted research, reviewed, edited, and collaborated on various publications, texts and research projects with her peers and students alike.

Mary was an amazing wife, mother and devout catholic. She was a member of St. Ann’s and St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church in Ossining, NY where she volunteered in the church pantry and sang in the choir. Mary is survived by her loving husband Phil, her children Anastasia (‘Stacey’) Migliozzi and her husband Steven Roche; Christine (‘Chrissie’) and her husband George Melendez; and her grandchildren George Philip Melendez and Zoe Grace Migliozzi.

I leave you with the last line from the poem Mary selected at the beginning of life’s journey…“With such a comrade, such a friend, I fain would walk till journeys end, Through summer sunshine, winter rain, And then? Farewell, we shall meet again!”

 We miss you Mom…

 In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Maryknoll Sisters at maryknollsisters.org. Pray Intentions/Notes: Mary Efthimion


45 S. Highland Ave

Ossining, New York 10562


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