SCARBOROUGH, N.Y. -- Mattie Varvaro, 64, passed away Tuesday after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
Born Mathilda Gollhofer in Babylon, N.Y. on March 11, 1953, she married Steve Varvaro on Sept. 19, 1976, and they were married for 41 years.
Varvaro was well known and respected in Westchester for her interest and abilities in gardening. She spent her time creating, planting, advocating and promoting the advancement of bird, hummingbird, butterfly, and bee-friendly gardens.
In addition to her own specialized business, The Wildlife Gardener, Varvaro was involved in a number of community and volunteer garden projects, most notably the planting of the Sept. 11 Memorial tree peony garden at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville.
Varvaro also cultivated many close friendships, nourishing those relationships with magical meals and warm hospitality, according to her husband. She graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 1975 and earned her Masters of Business Administration from Fordham University in 1986.
Varvaro's professional career included clinical work as a Registered Dietitian, as pharmaceutical sales and marketing executive; as well as a Health Outcomes Advocate for Merck & Co.
Varvaro was described as loving the outdoors and in addition to her gardening efforts, her pastimes included hiking, kayaking, cooking and bird watching.
A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Briarcliff Congregational Church at 30 South State Road, Briarcliff Manor. All are welcome to attend.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks contributions be made to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown.
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