Marguerite Holmes Suozzi, matriarch of a Long Island political family, mother of Rep. Thomas Suozzi and creator of an annual summer concert series designed to cross economic barriers, has died. She was 93.
Suozzi, the mother of five children, 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, died at her Glen Cove home Saturday night, surrounded by her loved ones, her family said.
Suozzi’s relatives remember her not only as a kind and graceful person but as a constant source of inspiration that reverberated through the lives of her children.
“She would tell me what she always heard from her father, a union electrician who helped put the lights on the Empire State Building: Always look out for the little guy. That was a very big thing,” said Thomas Suozzi, as he choked back tears just hours after the family matriarch had died.
Suozzi was born in St. Albans, Queens on Feb. 19, 1924.
She began her nursing career studying at the now-defunct Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica. Soon after her family moved to Sea Cliff, Suozzi worked as an operating room nurse at Glen Cove Community Hospital.
In 1949 she met her future husband, Joseph, at a dance at the Knights of Columbus hall. She and Joseph — a city court judge who went on to become the mayor of Glen Cove and served two terms as a state Supreme Court justice before he was appointed an appellate division justice — married four years later.
Suozzi was a devoted supporter of her husband’s campaigns and those of her son Thomas, who served four terms as Glen Cove mayor, two terms as Nassau County executive, and is now as a congressman.
“We’re really more sad for us than for her. We’re not going to have her. She was perfectly at peace,” Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said.
Suozzi’s achievements include the creation of the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival, a nine-week event that starts in mid-July and has lasted for more than 50 years.
Suozzi was also a champion golfer, winning the women’s golf club championship at the Nassau County Country Club when she was 75.
A devoted Catholic, Suozzi also was an active member of St. Patrick’s Church, serving as a eucharistic minister who took communion to parishioners too frail to come to the Glen Cove church.
Her daughter, the Rev. Rosemary Suozzi Lloyd, a Unitarian minister who lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, moved back home three months ago to care for her ailing mother.
“She was just a phenomenal inspiration to all of us. And to anyone who knew her she was truly a woman who was full of grace,” said Rosemary Lloyd.
Suozzi was predeceased by husband Joseph and son Joseph. In addition to Tom and Rosemary, surviving children are William Suozzi of Glen Rock and Christopher Suozzi of Manhattan.
Viewing will be held at the McLaughlin Kramer Megiel Funeral Home in Glen Cove on Monday, 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday, 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral Mass will be Wednesday, 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Glen Cove. Burial will be at Locust Valley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family has asked that donations be made to the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival, P.O. Box 296, Glen Cove, NY 11542, and All Saints Regional Catholic School, 12 Pearsall Ave., Glen Cove, NY 11542.