Passionate Jackson Heights resident and Community Board 3 district manager of 20 years, Mary Sarro has died after a four-month battle with cancer.
Sarro’s friend of 37 years, Maureen Allen, describes the community leader as a “spitfire” with a large heart. She lived on 73rd Street in Jackson Heights, where she passed away on Sunday at 85.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful woman. Not only I, but the whole community will miss her,” Allen said.
Sarro served as board secretary for six years and district manager for 20 years for Community Board 3. Sarro suddenly resigned from her position as district manager in March 2010 over a reported time-sheet dispute.
After her retirement as district manager she continued to work with various organizations including the United Community Civic Association, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, the North Queens Home Owners Civic Association and the 115th Police Precinct Community Council.
“She was a fixture in the political, business and social structure of the Jackson Heights neighborhood for almost 40 years,” Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said.
Sarro was also influential in starting the Queens Pride Parade, Dromm said. The first festival began as a block party, because the organizing groups had missed the deadline to apply for permits to host a full-blown festival. Instead Sarro helped submit the correct documents for the first event, which has now become a 20-year-long tradition.
“She welcomed us with open arms,” Dromm said.
Sarro’s wake will take place today, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Conway Funeral Home at 82-19 Northern Blvd. Her funeral will be the next day at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joan of Arc RC Church, 82-00 35 Ave.
Most of her remaining family members live in California.
“She was passionate about her community and used her knowledge, humor and expertise in government to bring about the best results for the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, North Corona and East Elmhurst,” Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said.