Mary Alice Bellardini (1933 – 2023)

Mary Alice (McAuliff) Bellardini, aged 90, peacefully passed away on October 7th, 2023, in her home in Matthews, North Carolina.

Mary Alice was born in 1933 to the late Dr. John L. McAuliff and Regina (Seubert) McAuliff and was a lifelong resident of Cortland County. Mary Alice’s beloved husband of 66 years, Harry E. Bellardini, Jr., passed away in January, 2023.She was preceded in death by her brother, Charles McAuliff.

Mary Alice was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Cortland, NY and graduated from LeMoyne College. She went on to obtain a master’s degree from SUNY Cortland. A devout Catholic, she was a former member of St. Margaret’s parish in Homer, New York.

The Honorable Mary Alice (McAuliff) Bellardini was a recognized leader in Cortland County, Central New York, and the state of New York. She made history as the first female Mayor of the Village of Homer, served as a Cortland County legislator, chaired numerous boards and organizations, and was a Trustee of LeMoyne College. Mary Alice’s unwavering commitment to doing what was right and her belief in the inherent goodness of all she encountered set her apart. Her servant-leadership style, formidable intellect, and ability to become well-versed in any subject at hand brought immense value to countless individuals, organizations, and societies throughout her life. In her leisure time, she enjoyed gardening, especially when her husband Harry was out golfing.

In 2014, Mary Alice received the prestigious “Women of Distinction” award, honoring women from New York State, at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY. She was a trailblazing leader in community revitalization, economic development, and historic preservation at the state, county, and local levels.

In 1974, she co-founded the non-profit Landmark Society of Cortland County. One of her enduring legacies is Homer’s designation as the largest intact federal and state historic district in New York State. Mary Alice personally cataloged over 200 historic structures as part of this effort, leading to the designation of several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. Her impactful work led to her election as president of the New York State Conference of Mayors in 1995 and her appointment by Governor George Pataki in 2000 to New York State’s Quality Communities Interagency Task Force.

Mary Alice is survived by her daughter, Eileen Bellardini Leith (Alexander) of Dedham, Massachusetts; her sons, John J. Bellardini (Beth) of Jamesville, New York, and Daniel C. Bellardini (Leigh) of Matthews, North Carolina; seven grandchildren: Christopher Leith (Cristina), Alexandra Leith (Joseph Cutick), David Leith, Bridget Bellardini Mullen (Shawn), John “Jack” Bellardini, Lauren Bellardini, and Carson Bellardini; and one great-grandson, Sebastian Leith.

The family wishes to express its deepest gratitude for the compassionate and angelic support provided by Heather Ebanks from Aroga Home Care Services.

Family and friends are invited to join in a celebration of Mary Alice’s life to be held on Saturday, October 28th at 10:00am at St. Margaret’s Church in Homer, New York. Following the service, attendees are welcome to join the family at the Cortland Country Club for a welcome reception immediately following burial services.

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Published by Syracuse Post Standard from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2023.

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