Mary T. (Nelen) Napolitan, for more than 40 years a member of Edgartown’s vibrant summer community, died on Sunday, September 11, surrounded by family and friends at Keystone Woods Assisted Living in Springfield. She was 84.
Soon after graduation from Elms College, Mary became the first social worker for Mercy Hospital in Springfield. In 1952, she married her husband of 59 years, Joseph Napolitan, a reporter for the Springfield Republican who later became a well-known political consultant.
In 1961, Mary and her family began summering on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1971, she and her husband bought their beloved house at 60 Cooke Street in Edgartown, the focus of much summer activity.
Over the years she generously opened her home to family and friends for joyous occasions that included weddings, college reunions, neighborhood clambakes and memorable dinner parties.
Mary loved attending Chamber Music Society concerts at the Whaling Church, mystery writer luncheons at the Edgartown Yacht Club, and doing errands around town while riding her trusty old green Schwinn bicycle.
She was a member of the Chappaquiddick Beach Club and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. She was also a communicant of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Edgartown and enjoyed mass at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven.
Mary was also very active in the Springfield community and served on many boards including the Springfield Library and Museums Association, the Willie Ross School for the Deaf, the Visiting Nurses Association, the Springfield YWCA, and the Riverfront Park Commission.
Mary was a kind and caring woman who will be missed by all who knew her.
Her sisters, Anna and Christina Nelen; her brothers, Joey and Frank Nelen; and her son, Jay Napolitan, predeceased Mary. She leaves behind her husband of 59 years, Joe Napolitan; her daughter, Christina Napolitan of West Tisbury; her son, Luke Napolitan of Springfield; her daughter, Martha Napolitan and son in law, Ben Cowen of Kimberton, Penn.; her brother, Jack Nelen of Springfield; her sister-in-law, Pat Nelen of South Hadley; her grandchildren, Lucy, Mary Sage, Francis, Clara and Diggory; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held on September 15 with burial in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Springfield. Donations may be made in Mary’s memory to St. Elizabeth’s Church, PO Box 1058, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or The Red Stocking Fund, RFD 216, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.