A special and big chapter in the life of George Papanicolaou was undouptedly his spouse and precious partner, Mahi or Mary.
Mary, daughter of the officer of the greek army Aristarchos Maurogenis, used to spent her vacations with her family in Kymi.
There she got acquainted with G. Papanicolaou, who gradually singled her out, realizing her talents and dynamic character.
Their wedding was held on September 1910 and since then they followed a common path. In the beginning this path was full of difficulties, but finally ended up to a scientific work recognized worldwide. In this long and laborious path, Mary served as a devotional and indefatigable partner in the research that Dr Pap had set as the purpose of his life.
She accepted not to have children, in order to be available to work with him in the laboratory, in the office, or at home.
She was an exceptional housewife, but at the same time she followed Dr Papanicolaou’s exhaustive rythm of work at Cornell University continuously for half a century.
In 1957 the couple decided to make their first trip to Greece, after 44 years of expatriation!
At the beginning of the sixties G. Papanicolaou accepted the proposal to run a cancer research Institute in Miami Beach, Florida, which would be named after him. In order to organize it in the appropriate way, the couple moved to Florida at the end of 1961.
Unfortunately he did not succeed …He passed away suddenly on February 19,1962.
After her husband’s death, Mary decided not to leave Miami, eventhough her life there would be extremely lonely. Committed to Dr Pap’s work, she felt that she had to stay there to attend the development of the Institute.
She passed away on October 13, 1982 at the age of 92 .
We should determnine that her name Mahi ( meaning “battle” in greek), could not be easily pronounced by the Americans. For this reason the Papanicolaou couple adopted the name “Mary”, honouring thus and her day of her birth, (15th of August).
Mary’s Papanicolaou biography
Photos on flickr
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