Ex-CB 3 District Manager Mary Sarro dies at 85

Former Community Board 3 Manager Mary Sarro, who died of cancer Monday, was a prominent figure in Jackson Heights. Photo courtesy Maureen Allen
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Anna Maria “Mary” Sarro, former district manager of Community Board 3, died Monday morning from cancer in her Jackson Heights home. She was 85.

Sarro, who grew up in Manhattan’s West Village before coming to Jackson Heights in the 1950s, was known for her prominent presence in her neighborhood and her spitfire personality.

“Mary’s many accomplishments will keep her memory alive for the residents of CB 3 for many years to come,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said in a statement. “God bless Mary Sarro.”

Maureen Allen, a Jackson Heights resident and longtime friend of Sarro, said she had worked at the World’s Fair and as the social secretary for Edward Bronfman, of the Seagram’s liquor empire.

But she was best known for being the district manager of CB 3 from its inception in the 1970s until 1996. Allen said she also worked as an unpaid secretary for the community planning boards that predated community boards.

“She totally and absolutely loved the communities of the board area,” said Allen. “To her dying day she was still talking about the community and stayed active.”

CB 3 serves Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and northern Corona.

Dromm said Sarro was a Republican and an early supporter of LGBT rights in the community. When he was forming the Queens Pride Parade in 1992, Sarro took him and others organizing the parade into the 115th Precinct to assure them the board wanted the parade in the community.

“We were always grateful to her for that,” Dromm said.

After resigning from the board, Sarro stayed active in the community, serving as sergeant at arms for the 115th Precinct Community Council. She was also part of the North Queens Homeowners Civic Association, the United Community Civic Association and the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.

Sarro never married.

“She was a very loving, kind, big-hearted, tough little lady who took great pride in her community,” Allen said.

Sarro’s wake was scheduled for Thursday at Conway Funeral Home, on 82-19 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral is Friday at 10:30 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Parish, at 82-00 35th Ave. in Jackson Heights.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 12:37 am, August 30, 2012
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