Mary Blevins
(1937-2015)
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This memorial website was created in the memory of my Mother, Mary Kathleen Blevins who was born in Virginia on 29 June, 1937 and passed away on 28 April, 2015 at the age of 77. I will remember her forever. Mary Kathleen Blevins of SALTVILLE, Virginia and Brooklyn, New York. Mary Kathleen Blevins, age 77, of Saltville, Virginia, passed away suddenly Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia. Mary moved to Brooklyn, New York in the late 1950s and worked at world famous Junior's Restaurant on Flatbush & DeKalb in Brooklyn. During her tenure in Brooklyn, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented her with the Key to the City of New York on the day of her retirement, waited on numerous celebrities and had numerous newspaper articles written about her longevity, while at Junior's. See New York Times Article: "43 Years of Tips, Taken and Given" July 27, 2005, by VINCENT M. MALLOZZI, under "Her Legacy" link. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/27/nyregion/27juniors.html Mary retired after 43+ years from Junior's in 2005 and later return to Saltville. Mary was preceded in death by three husbands, Charles Everett Snodgrass, Anastasios Zabridis, and Frankie "Hotdogs" Germano aka "Porkys" Germano dubbed by World Boxing Champion Jake Lamata; parents, Roscoe Lee and wife Nellie Hogston Blevins; siblings, Calvin Lee Blevins, Irene Poston, Connie Sword, Daphne Frye, and Peggy McAllister Helton. Mary was born on June 29, 1937 in Saltville. She is survived by her children, Teddie Joe Snodgrass and wife Delores (Dee), Vasilous A. (Billy) Zabridis and wife Sophie, and Jackie B. French and husband Doug; grandchildren, Chad Everett Snodgrass and wife Susan, Kevin Wayne Snodgrass and wife Jody, Tony Snodgrass and wife Donna and TaewHae Phithasksarit (Jiraporn); great grandchildren, Chad Lane Snodgrass, Deena Snodgrass, Haliegh Nicole Snodgrass, Michela Brooke Snodgrass, Ellie Grace Snodgrass, Caney Snodgrass, Nin Snodgrass and Kelsie Snodgrass; brother Jack Blevins and wife Betty of Bristol, Tennessee. Funeral services for Mary K. Blevins was conducted at 8:00 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2015, in the D.R. Henderson Funeral Home. The Reverend Doctor Kenny Howard officiated. Burial followed Tuesday morning, May 5, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at the Elizabeth Cemetery. Escort & Honorary pallbearer, Lane Snodgrass; pallbearers Chad, Kevin and Tony Snodgrass, Calvin and Danny Blevins and Harold McAllister. Honorary pallbearer Mike "Bristol" Arnold. The family received friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Monday evening, May 4, 2015, at the D.R. Henderson Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made to http://maryblevins.memory-of.com/Editor.aspx or http://obituaries.expressionstributes.com/?o=e218362913 The D.R. Henderson Funeral Home at http://www.drhendersonfuneralhome.com/index.html served the Blevins family.
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Her legacy
New York Times - 43 Years of Tips, Taken and Given  
July 27, 2005 43 Years of Tips, Taken and Given By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI Long before the cheesecake was famous at Junior's, the Brooklyn restaurant, Mary Blevins was a popular item. Ms. Blevins, 68, was a waitress at Junior's for 43 years, sharing a countertop and conversation with visitors like Spike Lee and Mike Tyson, trainloads of tourists and regulars like Betty and Jimmy of Con Edison. Eight days ago, on July 19, she worked her last shift at her old serving ground. "Betty got a cup of matzo ball soup and the chicken salad on a roll," Ms. Blevins said. "Jimmy got the split-pea soup and chicken salad on rye. "Oh, such good people," she added. "I'll miss talking to them." The day before she retired, Ms. Blevins was given a farewell party by the staff at Junior's. Another longtime regular, Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, showed up with proclamation in hand, declaring the past 43 years the "Mary Blevins era." "She was more than just a countertop waitress," said Mr. Markowitz, 60, who grew up in Crown Heights. "Over the years, Mary became a safety net for all of us, an extension of our families." In October 1960, Ms. Blevins, then 23 and looking for a steady job, bought a one-way bus ticket in her hometown, Saltville, Va., and headed for New York. In July 1962, nearly two years after settling in Park Slope, Brooklyn, she responded to a newspaper ad from Junior's, which was looking for help. On the 19th of that month, she began a career feeding people with an appetite for her company. "All the workers at that time were Jewish, Italian and Irish," Ms. Blevins recalled. "As soon as they heard my Southern accent, they gave me a hard time, and I was quite sad about that." Despite the rough welcome, Ms. Blevins stuck with the job. Dressed in a pink uniform with a white handkerchief folded like a flower and pinned above her broken heart, she worked hard at fitting in, scooting from table to table with trays of steak and lobster dinners. "You had to show up there looking like a lady, beautifully dressed and with not one hair out of place," she said. "And when you put that uniform on, you better not have a run in your stocking, or you were out the door." At first, Ms. Blevins said, she did not know what pastrami was, let alone gefilte fish. But she began to get comfortable, and when the owner, Harry Rosen, noticed that most days she came to work an hour early, he offered her the early shift, with weekends off. In her new role, Ms. Blevins moved away from food traffic and parked herself behind the horseshoe-shaped countertop, where she would hold court during five decades. Across a mountain of bagels and a river of coffee, generations of customers came to sit around that counter to discuss everything from their personal affairs to current events. Over time, as her pink dress was replaced by a black tuxedo, Ms. Blevins tackled topics ranging from the assassination of President Kennedy to civil rights, from men landing on the moon to the rise of disco music, from AIDS to "Forrest Gump," from the Yankees to Monica Lewinsky to 9/11. Throughout the course of those conversations, Ms. Blevins, personal advice always at the ready, built a reputation as a confidante among her closest customers. "On many levels, she was an inspiration to a lot of people who walked through those doors," said Mike Clarke, 51, a longtime regular from Crown Heights. "Mary was an institution; when you sat with her, you sat with family." With each torn sheet from the calendar that hangs in the restaurant, a 55-year-old landmark in Downtown Brooklyn - where Ms. Blevins has also served Mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani and David N. Dinkins and members of the band U2, as well as the actor John Amos - the country girl developed an attitude more Brooklyn than Saltville. "In a demanding job like hers, Mary had to be tough as nails," Mr. Markowitz said. "She began to take on a Brooklyn attitude," charming and unflinching at the same time. Harry Rosen's grandson, Alan, who owns Junior's with his father, Walter, and his brother Kevin, has known Ms. Blevins since he was 4. "She was more like my boss," said Mr. Rosen, who presented Ms. Blevins with a diamond-adorned silver Concord watch at her farewell party and was planning to build a shrine of sorts at her work station that would include her portrait, the proclamation and newspaper clippings so that future generations of customers might enjoy a slice of cheesecake and history in a single sitting. "Mary has the right attitude, and the right work ethic," Mr. Rosen said. "And I can't tell you that I remember her missing a day of work or ever being late." This afternoon, Ms. Blevins, a petite redhead with piercing blue eyes, will stop by Junior's to say goodbye. On Monday, she heads back to Saltville, with another one-way ticket, to catch up with three children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Four months ago, Ms. Blevins lost her most beloved customer, her husband, Frank Germano, 85, who died of cancer. "I met Frank at Junior's, and we fell in love," she said with an accent that has never abandoned her. "That was way back in 1964." One day that same year, 10-year-old Mike Clarke walked into Ms. Blevins's world for a cheeseburger and fell in love with the service. "Mary said, 'Hey, kid, sit over here and talk to me,' " Mr. Clarke recalled. "She has been a huge part of my life ever since." So huge, in fact, that on the morning of his wedding, he took his bride-to-be to the counter where Ms. Blevins was holding court. "I wanted her to meet this new woman in my life," he said. "We sat, we ate, we talked, and once I knew that Aunt Mary approved of her, I went out and got married." http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/27/nyregion/27juniors.html

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