Mary S. Ryzuk, Ph.D.
Renowned Author & Playwright
Mary Scarfeo Ryzuk, Ph.D., age 85 of Montville, passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. She was born to the late Rose and John Scarfeo- Sicilian immigrants- on April 29, 1932.
Mary was born in the Bronx- the youngest of four children. She met her late husband, Onufry Ryzuk, at the Music and Art High School in Manhattan. The two wed on July 10, 1954 and had two sons- Regan and Mitchell. The family moved to Montville in 1965 and immediately planted roots in the community.
If there was one thing that Mary would want to be remembered for, it would be her amazing talent and her passion for theater and the arts. From the time she was a small girl, Mary showed an aptitude for performing. She sang in front of crowds of people and even performed on the Ted Mack Radio Hour! Her passion for performing was only matched by her love for writing. When the two met, anything was possible! She earned her BA, MA and Ph.D. in Theater after her children were grown.
In addition to writing 3 published books in the true-crime genre which were True Crime Book and Literary Guild Book Selections, she also wrote "The Circle Repertory Company: The First Fifteen Years," the novel, "The Fires Within" and the original screenplay, "Stuffed Dolls." Mary wrote, directed and performed for over 50 years. She was honored in June by the Barn Theater as "Best Director" and "Best Musical" for her direction of the musical, "A Man of No Importance."
Mary was awarded the 2005 New Jersey A.C.T. Perry Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Creative Artist Public Service Award, N.Y.S. Grant, the New York Creative Artist Public Service Award and the New Jersey State Fellowship Award.
Mary established two theater companies- the Parsippany Playhouse and the Enchanted Players. She collaborated (book and lyrics) on seven musical fairytales and two full-length musicals. Anyone who knew her, knew of her unsinkable enthusiasm and persistence for her full-length musical thriller, "The Lodger."
Her life was made richer by her vast community of friends and her loving family. She delighted in her grandsons Ryan, Corey, Mitchell and Xander- often seen at band concerts, graduations or story time. Her heart burst with joy when she met her long-awaited granddaughter, Scarlet. She was fiercely proud of her sons, Mitchell and Regan and loved their wives Pamela and Emily as though they were her daughters.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family at the Codey & Mackey Funeral Home, 107 Essex Avenue, Boonton, NJ 07005 on Sunday, August 20 from 2-5pm and Monday, August 21 from 2-4 & 7-9pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Pius X R.C. Church, 24 Changebridge Road, Montville, NJ 07045 on Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00am. The interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Boonton. To share a memory or condolence, please visit www.codeymackeyfh.com.