Mary Margaret Sepp

  • Born: September 5, 1958
  • Died: September 30, 2020
  • Location: Larchmont, New York

Pelham Funeral Home

64 Lincoln Ave
Pelham, NY 10803

Tel. (914) 738-1060

Tribute & Message From The Family

Mary was born in New York City on September 5, 1958. The fourth of Elmar and Joan Sepp's six children, her love for words and interest in culture and travel were apparent from early childhood. Blessed with a ferocious love of humanity, Mary was driven to learn languages, travel to distant lands, and share the things she'd learned along the way.

Graduating near the top of her class from Cardinal Spellman High School, Mary accepted a scholarship to Fordham University, where she majored in French and minored in Russian. Having achieved fluency in the French language very quickly, Mary completed her junior year abroad at the University of Nancy, France, where she began to form many lifelong friendships with people from around the world.

A truly global citizen—holding citizenship from Ireland, Estonia and the U.S.A.—Mary's language skills quickly landed her the highest-ranking position achievable by a non-Canadian citizen with the Canadian Consulate in New York City as an immigraiton officer. Furthering her interest in Russian language and culture, Mary completed a master's degree in Russian Area Studies at Hunter College while deepening her Russian-language skills under the tutelage of Maria Tolstoy, granddaughter of Leo Tolstoy. A true polyglot, Mary also began learning Estonian and Swedish at this time.

Longing for new challenges and adventure, Mary and a Scottish colleague from the Canadian Consulate left their positions to travel around the world, finding many amazing adventures as they made their way across Europe, Egypt, Asia and Australia, including a brief stint as a factory worker in Sydney, Australia!

Not long after returning home and a series of unsatisfying jobs, Mary traveled to Kalinin Russia (now Tver) to participate in a Russian-language graduate program with Brown University. After returning, Mary began teaching and teacher training, eventually temporarily moving to Tallinn, Estonia to teach Business English at a local language institute. After returning to the U.S. and eventually earning a Ph.D. in Corpus/Computational Linguistics from C.U.N.Y Graduate Center, her doctoral studies would prompt an extended stay in Siena, Italy to study Italian followed by a return to Estonia—this time Tartu, Estonia's academic capital—to focus on research for her doctoral dissertation.

Mary began her last position as a professor in the Academic Literacy & Linguistics department—where she served as deputy chair—at the Borough of Manhattan Community College campus of C.U.N.Y.

It may sound like Mary was all work and no play considering her studies and professional achievements, but nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to being—what all who knew her would call—"the sweetest person you could ever meet", Mary had a love for life that included interests in dance, music, popular culture, film, art, decorating, fashion, the New York Mets and Knicks, religion, politics and family.

Mary is survived by four of her siblings: Eileen Sepp, Joan Daley, Alan Sepp and EJ Sepp; as well as five nieces: Erin, Jessica, Kimberly, Taylor and Ava; and three nephews: Scott, Matthew, and Michael; a large extended family, many beloved friends, colleagues and students. She was preceded in death by her brother, Fr. Michael Sepp and her parents, Elmar and Joan Sepp.

A devout Roman Catholic residing in Larchmont, NY, Mary passed away quietly at White Plains Hospital due to complications from lymphoma.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Fr. Michael Sepp Scholarship. Please find the link to donate on this page:

A celebration of Mary's life will be on Thursday October 8, 2020, from 3PM-7PM, at Pelham Funeral Home.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Friday October 9, 2020, 10:30 at Immaculate Conception Church, 53 Winter Hill Rd Tuckahoe, NY.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Mary and I shared in many Estonian activities, including folk dancing. Over the years she encouraged and blessed me in many ways, professionally and as a friend. I miss her. Jennifer Benichou

Posted by Jennifer Benichou - New York, NY - Friend   November 19, 2020

Mary was a wonderful colleague at the community college. Whenever we talked about work issues, she
was always very supportive. Mary was a warm, friendly person who handled with her illness with grace.
Her passing is a big loss for students and faculty at BMCC. My condolences to her family
- Kate Walter, coworker, NYC

Posted by Kate Walter - New York, NY - Coworker   October 07, 2020

Mary, thank you for your friendship, your kindness, your intellect. You put up a valiant fight. I will miss you and cherish your memory always.
October 6, 2020

Posted by Gabriella Morvay - New York, NY - Friend   October 06, 2020

Prof.Sepp as the students and staff at the ESL used to called her. We are deeply sad about her death, she always smiled to us I'm so sorry
Altagracia Soldevilla

Posted by altagracia Soldevilla - Bronx, NY - Coworker   October 06, 2020

Mary was not only a thoughtful colleague but also a generous one with her time, expertise and knowledge. When I first met her she was the schedule coordinator in our department, but she soon became someone I could easily go to with questions or for advice. Mary was also modest, never boasting about her many accomplishments, and readily sharing resources at her disposal. Above all, I found her admirable as she managed her illness with quiet resolve. I will miss her.

Posted by Sofia Sequenzia - Brooklyn, NY - Coworker   October 06, 2020


You will be missed at BMCC. Thank you for your commitment to students and the college. RIP Mary

Posted by Shane Snipes - New York, NY - Coworker   October 05, 2020

I am a colleague of Mary's at BMCC-CUNY. I have known Mary for 20 years, and the first course I taught at BMCC was offered to me by Mary. It has been such a wonderful pleasure knowing her all these years and working with her. She was an exceptionally lovely person, and she remains in my heart - always. I will always remember her and I'm grateful to have had the chance to know and work with her. She was such a special and wonderful person and colleague. Mary - I will miss you. Fare thee well, dear friend and colleague.

Posted by Susan Neri-Friedwald - NYC, NY - Coworker   October 05, 2020

A wonderful woman and educator. Will be greatly missed by all.

Posted by Maria Enrico - Dobbs Ferry, NY - Coworker   October 05, 2020

I am one of Professor Sepp former students at BMCC. I am really sadden to her of her passing. She is one of the professors who will always be in my heart, because of her kindness towards everyone. Will miss seeing her on campus.

Posted by Thelma Montoute    October 05, 2020

How sad for your loss! I'm in the music department at Bmcc and have not met Mary. She was so young. May she Rest In Peace.

Posted by Rosemary George - New York, NY - Teacher   October 05, 2020

For seven years, Mary and I shared an office at BMCC. Simply put, she was a kind, selfless, loving, amazingly smart woman. We bonded immediately; not over language and teaching and all things academic (though we often discussed our approaches to teaching and our students), but over our love of the Mets and Knicks. As Mary used to say: misery loves company. Mary and I experienced many rites of passage while together in our office including the births of her much loved neices and nephews and my grandchildren, the deaths of our mothers, and Mary's courageous battle during the last years of her life. We laughed (I will never forget her giggle) and cried together like few office mates do. I will cherish her memory and think of her smile and laugh forever.

Posted by Mark Hoffman - Jackson Heights, NY - Friend   October 04, 2020

Mary What a wonderful kind and wise friend you were to me. I will miss you so very much.

Posted by Veronica Parrett - Scotland - Friend   October 04, 2020

Mary- our long friendship sustained me through many of life's ups and downs. Thank you for being a reliable, trustworthy presence in my life. I will always remember the good times we shared. I miss you. Rest in peace. Carole

Posted by Carole - Mamaroneck, NY - friend   October 04, 2020

In Loving Memory of our dear cousin Mary Margaret Sepp

Posted by Love Tara and Karen    October 03, 2020


Mary - you are in my thoughts every minute of every day and though I wish you were still here with us, I know your pain has ended and you are free from that awful disease. I miss you but I know we will see each other again.

Posted by EJ - Pelham, NY - Brother   October 02, 2020

Family Album

Community Photos

Mary, thank you for your friendship, your kindness, your intellect. You put up a valiant fight. I will miss you and cherish your memory always. Gabriella October 6, 2020