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COURTESY MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY
Mary DeFilippis.

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

A memorial service will be held tomorrow, Tuesday night, for Montclair State University faculty member Mary DeFilippis, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Grove Street last week.

A celebration of DeFilippis’s life is set for 6:30 p.m. at Union Congregational Church, 176 Cooper Ave., where the 73-year-old township resident worshiped. Arrangements are being handled by the Allwood Funeral Home, Clifton.

The university on Monday also announced that it is establishing a scholarship fund in DeFilippis’s memory through the Montclair State University Foundation. Donors may make contributions through the university website, and should note their donations are being made in memory of DeFilippis.

DeFilippis was crossing Grove Street on the evening of June 7 when a motor vehicle struck her. The incident is under investigation by the Montclair Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The guest book on Allwood Funeral Home’s website already had a list of comments from people grieving over her death.

“I know how much I’m going to miss Mary’s smile and laughter,” wrote Yawei Wang. “She’s been such a wonderful person, warmhearted and cheerful. I’m truly honored to be Mary’s colleague. Rest in peace, Mary. You will be missed tremendously.”

A number of her other MSU colleagues posted comments, as well, including Olga Dembicki.

“I was shocked and saddened to learn of Mary’s passing,” she wrote. “She loved students and children, especially her grandson who she always spoke about so fondly. I was happy to catch up with Mary when we spoke for a short while at work the day she passed away. She was so excited that Mr. Softee was coming on campus, since she loved ice cream. I will truly miss Mary and I am so very sad she is gone.”

Another MSU colleague, Faith Muriithi, also expressed her sadness.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to Mary’s family,” Muriithi wrote. “I am still in shock and disbelief. It was just the other day that I meet with Mary in her office to figure out a fall schedule. Her commitment and dedication to what she did was exceptional. She took time to draw a schedule, on a piece of paper that I carried with me to revisit later in fall, which will be my keepsake to remember a dear friend, and adviser. Her gentle voice, kind words and warm welcome to her office was worth a thousand words. Rest in eternal peace Mary.”

“My prayers and condolences are with the DeFilippis family,” wrote a person who signed in as Patrali on the guest book. “I wish you strength and hope memories of Mary will help you cope with her loss. I am still trying to come to terms that I will no longer see her on all five floors at some time during weekdays — but also on weekends when she is ‘not” supposed to be at work! She was a skilled professional, reaching out to faculty, students, staff and industry guest speakers. Her ability to juggle multiple assignments, projects, and schedules with multiple participants was impressive. I will miss her advice and support dearly. Rest in eternal peace Mary.

The funeral home also posted DeFilippis’s obituary, whch says that she was born and raised in Troy, New York, and lived in Montclair with her husband and family for the past 43 years. She received her baccalaureate degree in history from Russell Sage College and studied for her master’s degree in international relations at Columbia University.

“Mary loved traveling to Paris and spending the summers in Cape Cod with her family,” according to her obituary. “She also enjoyed short excursions; whether it be shopping in Lambertville, exploring museums throughout the state, or gaining inspiration in landscaping at the New York Botanical Gardens. Above all, Mary adored spending time with her family, especially her grandson Dylan.”

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