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Tanzania RPCV Mary Mitaritonna dies in Las Vegas
0,6053553.story, Tanzania RPCV Mary Mitaritonna dies in Las Vegas
Registered Nurse Mary Mitaritonna, 68
By Collin Nash
September 9, 2003
Las Vegas, Nevada - Mary Mitaritonna, a native of Mineola and a registered nurse who once worked in Africa with the Peace Corps, died Aug. 21 in a Las Vegas hospital from a massive stroke caused by coronary complications. She was 68.
Mitaritonna's compassion was evident in her professional and personal life, said Eleanor Kraus of Syosset, a longtime colleague and friend. "She was just a good, good person and an excellent nurse," Kraus said. A natural leader, "she was not afraid of taking on responsibility."
Mitaritonna spent part of her childhood in Mineola before moving with her family to the Yorkville section of Manhattan. She attended St. Clare's Hospital School of Nursing in Manhattan, graduating in 1958. Two years later, she left Manhattan for the nation's capital, where she worked the night shift at Georgetown University Hospital.
Fiercely proud of her Irish roots, Mitaritonna - accompanied by a group of mostly Irish nurses from the hospital, including Kraus - braved 8-foot snowdrifts and bitter cold to get a front-row space at John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961, Kraus said. So moved was she by Kennedy's address, she was among the first class to enlist for the Peace Corps.
For two years, she served in a hospital caring for leprosy victims in what was then Tanganyika, which in 1964 merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania.
After returning from Africa, she met and married her husband, Angelo, and settled in Rosedale, Queens. The couple raised two children. Over the years, she worked at several hospitals in the metropolitan area, including Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Franklin Square.
She is survived by her husband, Angelo of Las Vegas; children William Mitaritonna of Queens and Joanne Lane of Las Vegas; brothers John Gibbons of Statesboro, Ga., and Richard Gibbons of Scotch Plains, N.J.; four grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A 9:45 a.m. memorial will be held today at St. Pius the Tenth Roman Catholic Church, Rosedale, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside.
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