Mary Lou Stewart (nee Rutigliano), 93, a life-long Staten Islander, passed away Thursday, February 8, at Staten Island Care Center. She had been a resident there about four years.
Born Maria Louisa on Staten Island, she lived in Port Richmond and Elm Park for twenty years. She married John (Jack) Stewart on May 28, 1944 at St. Roch's Church while Pvt. Stewart was on furlough from the Army Air Corps during World War II. During this time, Mrs.Stewart worked in a ball-bearing factory in New Jersey to help support the war effort.
She was a graduate of Port Richmond High School (PRHS) in 1943, where her favorite subject was history. As a senior at PRHS, she won the sewing prize, and upon graduation, she was presented with a silver thimble as her reward. She continued her sewing and knitting prowess for the next 70 years. Mary Lou was an active member of the Port Richmond High School Alumni Association, and was on the committee for the annual dinner at the Staaten. She was one of a handful of attendees at their 70th Reunion in 2013.
Mrs. Stewart was a parishioner of St. Rita's R.C. Church and later, Holy Family R.C. Church in Westerleigh. An extremely religious person, she would often channel her prayers to a wide range of areas; family health & well being, finding lost items, she had a prayer and a saint to pray to for everything. She could even be found with her rosary beads in hand during Yankee World Series games.
Mrs. Stewart was most proud of her Italian heritage, as her parents: Thomas & Esther were from Bari. She would often discuss with her siblings: Harry Rutigliano, Rose Geckle, and Joseph Rutigliano, the merits and honor of being born Italian and going through life as an Italian American. She was superb homemaker and cook. She stressed that a home wasn't made out of brick and mortar, but love, sacrifice and caring for each other. If you did something smart, she would always say: "Now you're thinking Italian."
Mrs. Stewart is predeceased by her husband of 58 years, Jack Stewart. Surviving are her daughter Jo Ann Calabro, sons John Stewart Jr. and Mark Stewart. Also surviving are her four grandchildren: Karyn Cusanelli, Debra Calabro, Suzanne Rossi and John T. Stewart. In addition, all six great grandchildren have last names that end in a vowel: Marissa, Gianna, Gavin, Carter, Brennan and Finley were unquestionably her pride and joy. She loved them all dearly.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the Alzheimer's Association.
Funeral from the Matthew Funeral Home, Inc., 2508 Victory Boulevard, on Monday, departing at 9:30 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Rita's RC Church at 10 am. Interment to follow in St. Peter's Cemetery. Family and friends will be received on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm.