The Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia

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Our Founder

A Short Biography of Mary Creticos

Mary Creticos was born into a Greek immigrant family. Her father had a successful painting business and was among the founders of the first Greek Orthodox Church in the City of Philadelphia. She attended public school and did post-secondary studies, graduating from Moore College of Art with a degree in Fashion Design. Attending and graduating from college was unusual for girls born into her ethnic community at that time.

As a young woman

But then Mary is an unusual woman. She has an adventurous spirit and a zest for living her own life – her way. Mary says that going to Greek School as a young girl formed her character and belief system. Understanding her heritage and its heroes gave her aspirational values and role models on which she patterned her life.

Like many Greek entrepreneurs, although they were most commonly men, Mary and a few of her friends created a business, making customized dresses for the society ladies in 1940’s Philadelphia.

Mary later joined the Women’s Aircorp Service Pilots (WASP) and learned to fly. After her training, near the end of the war, Mary decided to see the world.

She planned a trip to Europe where she drove a car around the Mediterranean Sea. After that, she traveled up to up to Alaska and down to Mexico, by car and motorcycle.

Realtor and Pilot

After her travel adventures, Mary returned to the Philadelphia area and worked for a realtor as a clerk. Later, she would become the first female Real Estate Broker in Bucks County, opening her highly successful Real Estate Office on Route 611.

Mary loved flying and even owned her own small plane. It was expensive to store your plane at a local airstrip and to use their facilities. Mary decided that she would buy a farm and have her own airstrip. She found that farm just outside of Quakertown, Bucks County. Mary would buy another farm in the 1950’s in the same area. During this time, Mary was married to James Molnar, a veteran of WWII serving in the R Company, 774th Tank Destroyer Unit.

Civic Leader and Founder of the Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia

Mary was very active in Springfield and Quakertown Historical Societies and was a leader in the Greek American Historical Society of Philadelphia. She envisioned an organization that would instill Greek values and beliefs in today’s youth, just as she had been inspired by Greek cultural ideals and heroes. Her vision was provided with resources when she had the opportunity to sell part of her first farm to PPL. Mary founded the Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia with the help of her nephew, the late Peter Christie.

Recently Mary also made a donation to the Society of a permanent easement to a Natural Land Trust of her other farm that preserves the headwaters of the Tohickon Creek Watershed in Springfield Township, Bucks County, PA.

Mary Creticos is retired and living quietly in Quakertown, PA.

We are so fortunate that her spirit, vision and generosity laid a foundation for an organization whose mission we also hold dear.