Yesterday, I posted on the passing of Catholic philanthropist George E. Doty.
Now there’s word that another great New York benefactor has died:
Florence D’Urso of Pelham Manor, one of the most important benefactors of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, who was also responsible for restoring many works of art at the Vatican, died Tuesday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. She was 79.
She was the widow of Camillo D’Urso, who founded the Key Food supermarket chain and was presumed drowned after he disappeared during a 1986 fishing trip off Florida.
Over decades, Florence D’Urso supported numerous Catholic causes and schools in New York and elsewhere. She was a prominent figure at the front of many Catholic events, often the only woman among bishops and priests.
She often arranged flowers for St. Patrick’s Cathedral and decorated the suite where Pope John Paul II stayed during his 1995 trip to New York City. Among the many institutions she supported were Iona College, the Our Lady of Mercy Healthcare System and Calvary Hospital. At the Vatican Museums, she restored the Perugino fresco “Moses’ Journey into Egypt” and Raphael’s “Dispute over the Blessed Sacrament,” among many others.
“We have such little time on this Earth, time that we can never recapture,” she told The Journal News in 2000 during a rare interview. “We must do good every day. You never know what the future will bring.”
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her…