Mary Frances Yarusso of Riverhead, N.Y., originally of Smithtown, N.Y., passed away June 30, 2021, in the loving arms of her family after a long battle with cancer. Her family will be eternally grateful for all of her love, compassion and support.
Family was very important to Mary. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Tony; daughters, Amanda Horan (Michael), Ellen VanderWey (Scott) and Mariah Duffy (Daniel); sons, Anthony (Denise) and Daniel (Bridget); and her nine grandchildren, the loves of her life. Mary is also survived by her siblings, Sylvia Jane Wafler (Ray), Thaddeus Robert Walsh, Mark John Walsh (Tina) and Joseph Linus Walsh (Wendy).
Mary was actively involved in the lives of her children as a Cub Scout leader, Brownie and Girl Scout leader, class parent and CCD instructor, for which she received the Pius X Achievement Award from the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Mary’s home was always open to all. Whether it was her large extended family, friends, children’s friends, foreign exchange students or many pets, all were welcome and everyone enjoyed her hospitality. Mary was a marvelous home cook and hostess, and the holidays especially were her time to shine as an important gathering time for all. In addition, Mary was famous for her pasta night dinners, which she prepared for her children’s various sports teams. Feeding 20-plus athletes was never a problem for her.
Not only was Mary a devoted mother, but also a caring teacher. She taught preschool at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church in Smithtown, N.Y. There, each year, the class performed a play based on one of her favorite children’s books, “Caps for Sale.” When her own children returned to school full time, Mary returned to Three Village School District to teach kindergarten at William Sidney Mount Elementary. Reassuring anxious 5-year-olds and their parents, Mary wrote to each student before September and welcomed them on the first day of school wearing a floppy hat and holding a green balloon. Her love and dedication to teaching earned her recognition in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” in 2002 and 2005.
After her retirement from teaching, Mary began to spend time volunteering for different organizations. She volunteered at Peconic Bay Medical Center for 18 years. During that time, she was the secretary and president of the Auxiliary as well as a member of the Board of Directors. These positions led to her service as secretary and treasurer at the Long Island Council of Auxiliaries. Every summer Mary would volunteer at Camp Adventure, a sleepaway camp for children with cancer and their siblings, a program offered by Kids Need More. There, she was an essential component of the kitchen crew. She was known as the “Queen of the S’mores!” In recognition of her years devoted to service of others, Mary was awarded the 2013 Community Service Award by the New York State Union of Teachers.
Mary saw no divide between a life in Christ and life in general, and found fulfillment at her church, St. John the Evangelist in Riverhead, N.Y. She served as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Minister of Consolation.
Mary will be missed by all who loved her.
The family will receive visitors Monday, July 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church.
Memorial donations may be made to Kids Need More (kidsneedmore.org/mary) or East End Hospice (eeh.org).
This is a paid notice.