Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we couldn’t let another month go by without paying tribute to Mary Sempepos (nee Xefos), the legendary former district manager of Community Board 10, who died on May 7 at age 92. Sadly, due to the height of the pandemic in New York City, there was no viewing or funeral service.
Sempepos served for 15 years as manager for the district that covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton — a population of more than 122,542, larger than Hartford, Connecticut! She was unanimously voted by the board as district manager in 1981.
Mary served under Board Chairmen Joe Bova (Jan. 1980-June 1983), David Vaughan (July 1983-June 1986), Arthur Schack (July 1986-June 1989), William Salerno (July 1989-June 1992), Basil Capetanakis (July 1992-June 1995) and John DeMartini (July 1995-June 1997).
“Such a wonderful person,” said Bova. “She was so dedicated to making sure the neighborhoods comprising CB 10 received the essential services they needed. In the office, she was organized and efficient. That office hummed. She worked 24/7 in doing her job. The only thing that she lived for more than our community was her beloved Jim Sempepos! CB 10 was lucky because we got both of them for the price of one.”
Peggy Pierce, who spent 15 years on the board, said, “She was a great mentor, always encouraging and educating, and became a family friend, delighting in the growth of our son.”
In 1988, Mary marched in the Children’s Ragamuffin Parade, as “Woman of the Year,” with Grand Marshal Hank Vogt.
She was cited for outstanding service by Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, the City Council and the New York State Legislature.
She was a parishioner of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, and the wife of World War II veteran and civic leader James Sempepos who died in 2009. She was also predeceased by her brothers John, Emanuel, George and Peter. Her parents were Effe and Eas Xefos.
Interment took place on May 14 in the Hillside Mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery.
It is hoped when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, an appropriate memorial will take place.
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Far too many men are either not wearing a face mask or letting it sit under their nose. Despite threats of a $50 fine by the MTA, I’ve encountered men not wearing face coverings while on subway platforms and on trains.