Mary Mindel, mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of two, passed away in her home on Sunday, Jan. 13. She was 90.
Born June 17, 1928, Mary’s life was always intertwined with her survival of the greatest crime in human history. When she was 11 years old, Nazis invaded her small Polish village of Trzebinia and immediately murdered her father and oldest brother.
Soon after, Mary was sent to the Sudetenland work camp. She survived death marches in the snow, an encounter with Joseph Mengele and tuberculosis. Her mother did not survive, but six of her nine siblings did. They all immigrated to the United States and remained close throughout their lives.
Once living in America, Mary met her husband, Sam. They were married for 40 years, until his death in 1992. They started out in Astoria, Queens, later moved to Little Neck and then Lake Success, where they raised their children and often hosted their extended family.
In 1969, Mary opened what was known as the Adria Motor Inn in Bayside, Queens. She was called The First Businesswoman of Queens by her local paper. She built her business around the principles of family and friendship. She treated all of her employees like family and her guests like friends. The hotel is still in operation by her family to this day, with the company where she started employing more than 250 people with full benefits.
With her husband, she was a philanthropist giving to many causes including UJA, Boston University Medical Center, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, and the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, among many others.
She is survived by her sister Rose, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.