Louis Piropato was motivated by hunger when he first approached Mary Sarrantonio and her friend eating sandwiches on the beach at Coney Island.
While Mary declined Louis’ request to share her lunch that hot summer day, the couple would go on to take part in thousands of meals together during 66 years of marriage.
Louis, 91, died on March 20 of complications from kidney disease. A few weeks later, on April 16, Mary, 85, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease and the coronavirus.
As the parents of five sons and one daughter, Louis and Mary Piropato “lived for their children and grandchildren,” said their son John Piropato, 56, of West Islip. Holidays and birthdays were spent with family, as were Sunday dinners, when Mary would serve up Italian staples such as lasagna or meatballs.
Louis was from Woodside and Mary from Astoria, and they raised their family in Brentwood. Louis, a former Army and Air Force sergeant, worked out of the World Trade Center, where he was employed as a U.S. Customs National Import Specialist. He focused on clocks and watches. On nights and weekends, he would pick up side jobs, including a stint as a TV repairman.
“My father, at some point, worked up to three jobs at a time to be able to have enough money to put food on the table and clothes on our back,” said Len Piropato, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, adding that his father was very involved in his children’s education. “If I had a problem with school work my father was there to help me and my mother made sure there was food on the table and our clothes were clean for school.”
After her youngest child was school-age, Mary began working at Estee Lauder Corp. in Melville, where she retired as a quality control specialist.
After retirement, the Piropatos moved to the Colony at Holbrook where Louis spent time on the board of directors and Mary maintained an active social life. An avid sports fan, Louis spent Sundays watching the Yankees and Giants, while Mary, a devout Catholic, was a regular at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Holbrook. She loved to dance and he loved to read, completing the crossword puzzle every morning before he finished his coffee.
They enjoyed traveling together, taking riverboat cruises in Europe and regular trips to see family.
“I was blessed to have two loving, caring parents, who did everything they had to do to raise six kids,” said Len Piropato. “I never remember seeing them fighting, or arguing. They had a very loving, caring, respectful relationship.”
The couple is survived by their daughter Lorraine, of East Islip: sons; Louis, of Huntersville, North Carolina, Robert, of Holbrook, and Mark, of Ronkonkoma. They have 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Services were held with immediate family and the family plans to hold a memorial on Sept. 19.