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Memories & Candles

“Mary and Peter were not only very good neighbors in Woodside, NY, but were also close family friends. Mary and my mom were both active with the PTA...Read More ยป
1 of 1 | Posted by: Dianna Popp - Woodside, NY


Mary Durniak entered into rest Friday, November 25, 2016 at the Lutheran Care Center in Poughkeepsie. She was 88.
She was born in Brooklyn NY in October 1928, the only child of immigrants Seman Potocky and Anna Bochnewych. She graduated from Girl's High School in Brooklyn and studied at Hunter College for a short time before starting work as a dental assistant.
After WWII she married Peter Durniak in 1949 and they settled in Woodside Queens NY. Peter worked multiple jobs allowing Mary to stay at home and concentrate on raising their four boys. And what a full-time effort that was! The house was always active with music lessons, school science projects, and home improvement projects. A highlight of every year was the family's annual summer vacation when Peter and the boys went swimming, fishing, and engaged in softball games. But, Mary never missed an opportunity for some educational enrichment so she always fit into the vacation schedule some visits to local historical sights and museums. Most memorable were the tours she arranged at local factories. Closer to home, she often arranged picnic dinners at Jones Beach to escape the summer heat.
After Ted, the youngest son, entered junior high school Mary returned to work outside the home. She had several interesting experiences working as the executive assistant to the publisher of USA Today, a gift consultant at the bridal registry in Bloomingdale's, and as an auditor with the IRS.
She was very involved in her parish, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Brooklyn NY. She served for many years as an officer of the Sunday School Parents' Association and helped develop a religious education curriculum for the youngsters in English. Another project she was proud of was her role in founding the Good Samaritans Society which provided services to Orthodox patients at nursing homes in NYC.
Perhaps her most complex project was applying for grants from the New York State Preservation Trust Fund to restore the historic Cathedral. Her efforts, which started in 1996, were the catalyst for a Parish fund raising drive that ultimately collected $3.5 million to finance the complete re-covering of the Church's five copper-clad Byzantine style cupolas. That work was completed in 2004.
As it became more difficult to travel and handicap accessibility became important, Peter and Mary sold their house and moved in 2008 to the Atria assisted living community in Kew Gardens. At that time, they joined St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church in Jamaica NY. They attended there until they moved to the Lutheran Care Center in Poughkeepsie NY during the summer of 2014. In Poughkeepsie, they adopted St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church as their parish.
Mary is survived her four sons: Anthony who lives with his wife Marsha in Chapel Hill NC; Gregory of Bayside NY; Timothy who lives with his wife Barbara in Poughkeepsie NY; and Theodore who lives with his wife Karen in Providence Forge VA; her grandchildren Kimberly (married to Sean Buchanan), Joseph, Mark (married to Lauren Hartstein), and Philip; and great granddaughter Sophie Elizabeth Buchanan.
Family will receive friends on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Gregory the Theologian Church, 1500 Route 376, Wappingers Falls. The funeral service will follow at 7 p.m. at the church.
Divine Liturgy will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 30 at the church. Interment will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 65-40 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY, 11378.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to one of these worthy causes:
St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church, for its Portico fund; http://www.stgregoryny.org/
The Lutheran Care Center: http://www.lutherancarecenter.org/
or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: https://www.michaeljfox.org/
Arrangements are under the direction of Straub, Catalano & Halvey Funeral Home, 55 East Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY. To send the family a personal condolence or for directions, please visit our website at www.StraubCatalanoHalvey.com.

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Straub Catalano and Halvey Funeral Home
55 East Main Street Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Tel. (845) 297-2610
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