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Mary Marrara

Stop just about anybody walking along the tree-shaded lanes of Jermyn, and ask them about Mary Marrara. Not only will they very likely know who she is, but they’ll keep you standing there for a while, as they talk about all the things Marrara does for others.

All of that is why Marrara will be honored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO as the 2016 UNICAN of the Year. The award will be presented at the charity ball, the chapter’s annual fundraiser, which be held on Saturday, March 4, at Genetti Manor, 1505 Main Ave. in Dickson City and is open to the public.

The Poets will provide entertainment. The cocktail hour is at 6 p.m., and dinner follows at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 and reservations are required. Call 570-558-8519 or contact any Scranton UNICO member for tickets.

Mary D’Elia Marrara was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. In 1970, Mary met and married Phil and the two moved to Scranton for a temporary stay. So far that temporary stay has lasted 47 years.

They own a successful small business, but Mary has found time to become involved with many, many area non-profits. Emphasis on the word “many.”

The more she volunteered, the more the people running the organizations realized her unique combination of people skills and organizational savvy, officials said. Soon she was being asked to serve on the boards of these organizations.

“I know of no other individual who better exemplifies UNICO’s motto of ‘service above self’ than Mary Marrara,” James A. Baress, president of the Scranton chapter, said. “She has done and continues to do so much, not only within our Scranton chapter in raising money for the numerous charities and scholarships that we support, and in her active volunteerism and unwavering dedication, but also within the community at large, a lot of which, by the way, is done behind the scenes. Mary’s receiving this prestigious award is a well-deserved honor and a fitting tribute to her many years of selfless service.”

Saint Joseph’s Center was one of her first charities. She serves on several boards of The Wright Center and co-chairs the Wonderful Women Program and The Wright Center Health Fair. Mary serves on the boards of The American Red Cross, NEPA Philharmonic League, LaFesta Italiana and UNICO Scranton Chapter. She serves on the committee for the Jim Minicozzi 5K race, Jermyn Lions Club and advisory boards for Meals on Wheels and Scranton Cultural Center.

Mary is a past board member of NEPA Philharmonic, Anthracite Historical Discovery Center, Stewardship Committee of Sacred Heart of Mary Church and past chair of the Bereavement Committee.

Mary and Phil formed the Jermyn Variety Show, which benefits several organizations. Mary has chaired, co-chaired or served on committees for many events in the area over the years, including UNICO National Scranton Chapter Charity Balls; UNICO National Convention in Hershey; The Black and White Ball for NEPA Philharmonic and its 40th anniversary event, The Red Cross Auctions for 13 years; Susan G Komen 20th and 25th anniversary galas; The Nick Staback fundraiser; Name Your Charity Event for Scranton Cultural Center; Red, White & Blue Veterans Event; and the Chef’s Table Cabaret at Keystone.

She is a longtime volunteer for VNA Hospice, and often helps and advises numerous organizations. Mary is a breast cancer survivor and even then she gets noticed: she received the Blue Cross Breast Cancer Survivor award.

She was named a Northeast Woman by the Scranton Times-Tribune, received the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award, the Jermyn Volunteer of the Year award and the Red Cross Hero Award.

““I have known Mary for years and there are few as dedicated, hardworking and generous as she (and her husband) are,” said Charlie Spano, past president of the chapter. “She well deserves this.”

Mary and Phil have a son, Philip; daughter-in-law, Stacy, and her son, Jeremy; and nephew, Stephen. She enjoys entertaining and hosts Sunday suppers for family and friends with various themes and ends each year with an annual holiday party for more than 150 guests. She loves Christmas and puts up 13 Christmas trees each year. She will also tell you she never met a casino that she didn’t like.