Maria Tripp, 86
February 15, 1937 – May 9, 2023
COOPERSTOWN—With the love of her husband, Wendell, her family, and her many friends in her heart, Maria Tripp of Cooperstown passed away at Bassett Hospital on May 9 after a brief illness. She leaves a robust legacy of love, kindness and affection that will live on through all who knew her.
Maria was born to Hector and Popi Kontinou on February 15, 1937 in Athens, Greece. She endured German occupation and witnessed the Greek Civil War as a young Athenian. She attended an English-speaking school in Athens, where she excelled at her studies. Maria was awarded a full scholarship to Elmira College, crossed the Atlantic in a passenger liner to come to America alone, and earned a BA in English. She married Ansis Zamelis in 1957 and they moved from Ithaca to New York City. They first came to Cooperstown in 1967, then relocated to Old Greenwich, Connecticut. She came back to Cooperstown in 1971, where she enjoyed the remainder of her full and productive life. She was employed by Van Horne, Feury & Gozigian, the New York State Historical Association, and eventually retired from Bassett Research Institute.
Maria married the love of her life, Wendell E. Tripp, in 1987 and they shared over three and a half decades of love, family, mutual admiration, and respect. For more than 50 years, Maria loved to visit our local parks, especially Three Mile Point, and is known by many for her determined walks around the streets of her village and beyond. A talented artist, Maria enjoyed painting local landscapes in and around Otsego Lake. Maria made friends easily and enjoyed many groups of loving friends, including her painting buddies, SQPCA Thrift Shop friends, Pyramid Lake companions, Yellowstone traveling gang, and former colleagues, to name a few.
Maria is predeceased by her brother, Costas Kontinou, and is survived by her loving husband, Wendell, as well as her oldest son, Robert Zamelis, his wife Christan (Hood) and their daughter Madelyn; her son Douglas Zamelis, his wife Cheryl (Pratt), their daughter Ariadne and her husband Alex Wright, and their son Nicholas and his companion Lauren Perry. Maria is also survived by Wendell’s children, Dana Peeters, her husband Martin, her daughter Stefanie and her husband, Kyllan Brindle, and their children, Tolba, Carmella, and Aoife; MariaRosa Konopka, her companion Robert Verklas, and her daughter Giuliana, and her son Andrew Konopka and his daughter Vivianne; Nancy Morris and her husband Dan, and their children Olivia and Leland; and Robert Tripp, his wife Angela, and their children Samantha and John.
Maria will be remembered fondly for her boundless love for her family and friends, her keen sense for beauty in life, music, art, and nature, and her willingness to tell you exactly what she thought.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Maria’s memory may be made to the Cooperstown Art Association.
A truly lovely lady with a wonderful family
Dear Wendell, Bob, Doug and family,
So sorry to hear of Maria’s passing. She was a wonderful lady with a bubbly and feisty personality. It was never a dull moment with Maria around and you always knew where she stood. I know she is sorely missed. You all are in my thoughts at this sad time.
One of the first people I met in Cooperstown. She had a terrific sense of humor and joy. A truly wonderful and vivacious person.
I will always carry memories of Maria in my heart. She made others feel special with the enthusiasm in her voice when she said your name and her attention to your words. She leaves a legacy for the Women’s Writing Retreat at Pyramid Lake.
Sending sincere condolences to her beloved Wendall and all the family.
Mary Armao McCarthy
Maria was a treasure. We met many years ago while volunteering at the SPCA thrift store, and our friendship endured. I was an admirer of her written thoughts and artwork. As a matter of fact, one of the numerous paintings that she did of Otsego Lake, I gifted to my Aunt and Uncle in New Mexico who cherish it to this day. Our lives were richer to have known her.
Wendell, Bob, Doug and family,
Our condolences from my family to yours.So very sorry about the passing of Maria. I was fortunate to work with Maria at Nysha in the late 70s. Was always happy to see her when I was in town and will be will be missed greatly.
Maria was a joy to know, full of love of life and people.
Pyramid Life Center sister, you were loved, cherished and celebrated for the truly unique person God lovingly created.
The song “Maria” from the Sound of Music” fit you to a T! Take it easy on God up there. I know that God will hold his precious moonbeam o his loving caring hands.
I met Maria at the Pyramid Lake Writers Retreat. I cannot say that I knew her for a long time, but it didn’t take long to see that she was one of those few in life that light up everyone she touches with her humor, insight, warmth. I will never forget her reading a poem about going to market as a child with her father or grandfather and buying and eating a watermelon for the first time. The joy, the delight in just eating a watermelon said everything about Maria to me. She was ripe with life. I did not need to know her very long to love her.