Mary A. (Riccio) Ippolito

November 13, 1923May 8, 2020

On a sunny Friday the 13th in November 1923, Marie (Mary) Riccio Ippolito was born at home to Teresina (Tess) Longo Riccio and Gaetano (Thomas) Riccio. Descended from a long line of independent women, Mary was the fifth of six children.

A brilliant student, she excelled at schoolwork from an early age. Mary, Mimi to a select few, attended Belleville School #4 and Belleville High School before graduating in 1941 with outstanding grades and the school’s highest awards in both stenography and typing.

When America entered WWII six months after her graduation, Mary left a coveted position in the accounting office of Kresge-Newark department store to work for the newly relocated to New Jersey United States War Department, the precursor to the Department of Defense.

Just weeks into her new job, she was handpicked from 400 plus steno pool members to become his personal admin (then referred to as a secretary) by Lieutenant Colonel Percival Lowrey, with whom she maintained a lifelong friendship. Mary worked for the man she came to consider her second dad in the Office of Dependent Benefits until the War Department’s relocation to NJ ended and it was moved back to D.C. By that time, she’d processed many of the 12,000 plus dependent claims that were filed daily by families of Active Duty, KIA, and MIA soldiers.

During those years, Mary began corresponding with a friend who was the lifelong buddy of her beloved brother Jidge, a local boy named Tony (Anthony) Ippolito who was deployed as a member of the 297th Army Combat Engineer Battalion. Upon his return to the States, they had their first official date, dining and dancing to the big bands at the Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove. By the time of their engagement several years later, Mary was chief admin to the engineers at Passaic Valley Sewage Department, a position she held for close to 20 years.

Mary and Tony were married in 1950 at St. Anthony’s Church in Belleville and after a new type of reception - at the Continental Ballroom in Newark as opposed to at the home of the bride - they honeymooned in Bermuda.

Moving into an apartment in her family’s Magnolia Street home in Belleville, the young couple who survived the Depression and WWII enjoyed travelling - especially to Atlantic City - and spending time with family and friends.

In February of 1963 Mary welcomed her only child, Mari, and embarked on a new career at age 39: motherhood. A wonderfully supportive mom, she fostered her only child’s great love of reading with a novel idea for the era, family story times, and always encouraged both fun adventures as well as the importance of education.

She enjoyed traveling with her daughter and she and Tony particularly loved joining her on a trip to Europe in 1988 and their surprise 45th anniversary present to Bermuda. Mary and Mari also visited Washington D.C., Montreal, Disney World multiple times, and a wonderful excursion to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine in Quebec. Mary and Tony also enjoyed continuing the trips to Atlantic City they started in the early days of their 67 year marriage well into their late 80s, often staying over a few days per month with her brother Jidge and sister-in-law Sookie.

A lifelong member of St. Anthony’s Church in Belleville, Mary was particularly devoted to the Blessed Mother and St. Jude.

Mary is survived by her daughter, Mari Ippolito, and her granddog MacKenzie.

Nieces and nephews Patricia (Riccio) Sprague, Nicholas Guardabascio, Maryann Guardabascio, and Saundra Applegate and her husband Jack. Donna (Squitieri) Gialanella and her husband Tommy, Toni Pettinato and her husband Chris Wodopuja, Jennifer (Pettinato) Carsillo and her husband Michael, Daniel Ippolito and his wife Doretta, Patricia (Ippolito) Vocaturo, Michael Romaniello and his wife Judy, and Debbie Romaniello Krieg and her husband Allen.

Sister-in-laws Livia (Ippolito) Pettinato and her husband Frank, and Mella (Ippolito) Squitieri, and her brother-in-law Michael Romaniello.

Great nieces and nephews, Richard Sprague and his wife Cathy, Melissa Sprague Bell and her husband Larry, Lisa Kirk Flanagan and her husband Leo and Richard Kirk and his wife Lisa. Jacqulyn, Michael, Marissa and Jessica Carsillo, Ian Wodopuja, Nicolette (Romaniello) Lupinacci and her husband Anthony, Daniel Ippolito and his wife Natalie, Jenna Ippolito, Daniel ‘DJ’ Romaniello, Michael Romaniello and his wife Jennifer, Patricia (Vocaturo) Loeslien and her husband Pete and Dominick Vocaturo. Great-grandnieces and nephews: Noah and Ian Bell and Mary Jane Levann. Adrian and Christian Lupinacci and Khloe and Alex Loeslien, Xander and Dimitri Romaniello.

Mary’s much loved grandchildren of the heart include: Julie Parr Brady and her husband Darryl, Athena Kyriazis, Arzu Gedik, Diane Bifano, Analia Alonso and her husband John Martin, Melissa Arroyo Hernandez and her husband Derek and Becci Marin and her husband Chris. “Great-grands” include: Sean and Ryan Brady, Lucas and Simon Marin, Evan Mangan, Ethan Prescott, and Savanna Hernandez Mary’s surrogate daughters are Kelly Stagen and her husband John, Glenola Graf, and Fanny Osorio. She was predeceased by her husband Tony, parents, Teresina (Tess) (Longo) Riccio and Gaetano Riccio, siblings Fred, Frances (Riccio) Guardabascio, Angelo, Dorothy and her brother and lifelong best friend Jidge (Vincent Riccio - who was known professionally as Jack Carroll).

She was also predeceased by nephews Anthony Riccio, Louis Guardabascio and Daniel Romaniello, beloved granddogs dogs Star and Disney and her best friend of 59 years, Lushia Taylor Robinson White, who was also her daughter’s godmother.

To pay respects to the family, there will be a drive by past the family home on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 2 pm. A Catholic Mass and celebration of life will be scheduled in 2021 when the pandemic is at bay.

In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to help the family with outstanding medical expenses.


  • Passed Away

    Friday, May 8, 2020


Mary A. (Riccio) Ippolito

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Marsha Schreier

May 8, 2020

Mary was a warm person who always treated with love and kindness. I referred to her as Mom after my own mother passed - will miss you Mom. May her memory be a blessing.

Antoinette Porter Pezzano

May 8, 2020

Mary is a beautiful person inside and out. Her only child Mari and i were Best Friends and i was treated no different She was a second mom to me. I always felt loved and always had a great time. We did everything together I moved away and i just found Mari two christmas's ago. I never had gotten to see mom again for Mari n i talk on phone or pc. I would of loved to see my second Mom again. I live in Florida. I know that Mom is resting and not in pain anymore, with Dad and Uncle Jidge. She had a beautiful life and was loved by so many. Mom Ippolito was a person you could always see and feel the love from her. I know she has touched so many hearts in her journey of life. My prayer's go out to my friend Mari, and my love to Mom, I am so happy that mom had a beautiful life and touched So many others in her lifetime. I will cherish our menores in my heart until we meet again. Fly High my beautiful angel. God Bless and Thank you for all the love,
Antoinette and boys