Monday, August 20, 2001

Founder of first local
bridal shop
cared for seniors

Her volunteer work with a
companion program earned
her honors in 1993

MARY MAZZOLA / 1915-2001


By B.J. Reyes

Mary Therese Mazzola, the founder of Hawaii's first one-stop bridal shop who later was recognized for her volunteer work with senior citizens, has died. She was 86.

Mazzola died Aug. 5 at St. Francis Medical Center of an undisclosed illness.

"She was such a loving woman who loved people and loved to have fun," said her daughter Myrna Zezza of Kailua. "She had a great sense of humor and a quick wit."

Mazzola started a business out of her home selling wedding invitations in 1968, Zezza said. By 1973 the business expanded into the Wedding Shoppe, a store where prospective brides could go to find everything they needed for their wedding, from invitations and flowers to a photographer and baker.

"It started because women had a hard time finding all these different things, and we got the idea that maybe we should have a store," Zezza said. "Our motto was 'We have everything but the groom.'"

Mazzola continued working with the store until she retired in the early 1980s. She began volunteering when she discovered that retirement "wasn't enjoyable at all," Zezza said.

Her volunteer work included stints with the Mothers' Club at Nuuanu Elementary School and local child-care programs. She later worked with the Senior Home Companion Program, and in 1993 was named the program's Oahu Volunteer of the Year.

"She was a very caring person and liked serving people," Zezza said. "When you asked her, she said that she took care of the elderly, never mind that she was already 70, almost 80."

In addition to Zezza, Mazzola is survived by another daughter, Marilyn Joliff; two sons, Michael and James; a hanai daughter, Rosalie Mazzola-Shechtel; a hanai son, Lance Holst; four grandchildren; and one great granddaughter.

Services are scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at Calvary-by-the-Sea Lutheran Church.

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