Oltiana Pappas (née Mara), of Newton, passed away peacefully in her home on Sunday morning, January 23rd, with her family by her side, after a brave battle with a genetic lung cancer. As she did through her whole life, Oltiana remained strong, thoughtful, stoic, and full of life and love until the very end. She was taken from us too soon at 48 years of age.
Born and raised in Tirana, Albania, Oltiana was the daughter of Ali and Merita Mara; and the loving wife of Michael Pappas and mother of Zoe Mara Pappas. She was a courageous and self made woman who left home at a young age to build a better life.
Oltiana succeeded as a student and in her career but most importantly by forging deep long lasting friendships along the way. Oltiana studied at the American University in Bulgaria, later transferring to the University of Southern Maine, in Portland, to complete her undergraduate studies. She went on to earn her MBA from Brandeis University.
Oltiana will be remembered for her forthrightness, her attention to detail, and her strong personality. She made those around her laugh with her quick wit and self-deprecating humor, and her own laughter could fill a room.
Oltiana worked for Fleet Bank, later Bank of America, in the Commercial Real Estate Group for nearly 20 years, always going above and beyond and inspiring those around her to better themselves. She was an active member of several commercial real estate and banking and financial organizations. She was proud of her Albanian heritage and a founding member of the Massachusetts Albanian American Society. Most of all, she was a friend to many and a devoted and loving mother to Zoe.
Oltiana is survived by Zoe, Michael, and her parents; by her sister, Alma Mezini, and brother-in-law, Samir; and by their daughter, Erela. Equally as important, she is survived by her host parents, Eve and Fred Richardson of Boston, MA, and by her two host sisters and their families: Audrey Richardson, her husband Andrew deLaski, and their sons, Noah and Leo, of Boston, MA; and Reba Richardson, her husband Bill Pluecker, and their son and daughter, Eli and C.J., of Warren, Maine. Oltiana also leaves her ferocious Shih Tzu, Moka.
Visiting hours will be held at the Graham Funeral Home, 3 Arlington Rd., Woburn, on Wednesday evening, January 26th, from 4:00-8:00 pm. A funeral service will be held at the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 70 Montvale Ave., Woburn, on Thursday, January 27th, at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at the Lindenwood Cemetery in Stoneham. Contributions in Oltiana’s memory may be made for the benefit of Zoe Pappas, c/o 110 Washington Park, Unit 8, Newton, MA 02460; or visit the following links: