More than 50 people, including colleagues, friends and family, attended the Maria Pulice Memorial Service Tuesday at Fort Lee School No. 1 in what turned out to be a moving tribute to longtime educator and union leader, according to Fort Lee resident David Sarnoff, who was in attendance and submitted these photos.
“There were several speakers paying tribute, and the memorial culminated in the playing of ‘Ava Maria’ by members of the School 1 faculty on piano, violin and flute,” as Sarnoff described it. “They also dedicated a garden in memory of Maria Pulice.”
Pulice, who taught in the district for 41 years, died on September 30, 2011 at the age of 64, slightly more than a year after she retired.
Diane Henry, one of Pulice’s closest colleagues, was also one of the educators who took the lead on the project, forming a committee to raise funds for a memorial.
“School No. 1 was Maria’s home school,” Henry told Patch at the time. “She made a difference in so many people’s lives.”
Fort Lee Education Association (FLEA) president Gary Novosielski wrote in a letter to the editor shortly after Pulice’s death that he was “honored to succeed her.”
“Maria was always a fierce and fearless advocate for the rights of her members, whom she made it a point never to refer to as ‘hers,’ believing that the leaders of the union should view themselves as belonging to the members, not the reverse,” Novosielski said. “Yet she looked out for all of them as if they were truly hers—her family.”
Pulice served as FLEA president for the last seven years of her career.