Ann Marie Napolitano, a passionately creative woman who dedicated decades of her life to raising money for the Visiting Nurses Association of Staten Island, died on February 15, 2023 on Staten Island. She was 87 years old.
Born Ann Marie Burns on March 8, 1935 to William and Eleanor Burns of Tompkinsville, Staten Island, Ann was raised on Staten Island's North Shore. She attended St. Joseph Hill Academy and went on to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where she earned a BFA in Fashion Design. Ann met her beloved husband, Peter J. Napolitano in 1953. After dating for several years, the couple married on June 26, 1959. They settled on Ward Avenue in Stapleton Heights where they lived their entire married life. It was here and at their country house in the Pocono Mountains that they raised their three children, Peter, Maria Elena (CeeCee) and Marissa.
After graduating from Pratt, Ann took her design talents into Manhattan where she designed women's dress shoes for the Martinique Shoe Company which manufactured shoes for department stores such as B. Altman's in Herald Square. Once her third child was born, she resigned from Martinique to concentrate on raising her children and dedicating herself to charitable works.
From 1970 until 1994 when it finally closed its doors, Ann worked tirelessly for The Benefit Shop in Stapleton, a not-for-profit thrift shop that donated all of its proceeds to the Visiting Nurses Association of Staten Island. Beginning as a sales clerk, she moved quickly up the ranks to become managing director as well as head buyer. Ann used The Clare Brown Auction House as well as hundreds of estate sales and private donations to stock The Benefit Shop with furniture, clothes and other housewares that raised thousands of dollars each year for the VNA.
Never one to have idle hands, Ann then started Melange, a craft business that she owned with her friend and fellow Pratt Alumna, Joan Hiby. Melange specialized in hand sewn table and bed linens as well as children's doll clothing. She followed her time with Melange by opening Circa Antiques, a small antiques store in Wallenpaupack, PA with her friend and local antiques expert, Teddy Cescot.
In her free time, Ann took numerous craft classes including stained glass design, watercoloring, cooking and jewelry-making. She spent many an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enjoying the exhibits (especially the Costume Institute exhibits) as well as their lecture series.
Ann and her husband loved culture and spent several nights per week in Manhattan at Broadway shows as well as the Metropolitan Opera, ABT, City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. They were avid world travelers with a special love for Europe. The spring months were their favorite time to travel and Europe was most often the destination.
Ann is survived by her three children, her son in law, Robert Kearns, her grandson, Dylan Kearns as well as her brother, William Burns, Jr, his beloved family and her lifelong best friend, Connie Lane.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Napolitano's family asks that you consider donating to The Staten Island Children's Museum at Snug Harbor, SI. Ann adored this museum and loved spending afternoons there with her grandson.