Aug. 24. 1952 – Nov. 23, 2012
Mary M. Kontos, a pediatric nurse practitioner who cared for those living with cystic fibrosis and promoted a greater understanding of the deadly disease, died Friday in her Parkside home after a long battle with cancer. She was 60.
The author and co-author of many articles and research papers on cystic fibrosis and other pulmonary illnesses, Ms. Kontos also was regarded as a pioneer in advanced practice nursing.
“My mother had her family at home, but also her family at work, at church and her countless numbers of patients,” said her son, Timothy R. Max Jr. “Those patients would start out as young children and still be in her life when they were young adults. They were actually part of our family.”
“She was such an inspiration to all of us, especially these last few years. As sick as she was, she had a way of caring and making you feel special. She was selfless.”
A Buffalo native, Ms. Kontos was a Mount Mercy Academy graduate and in 1987 earned a pediatric nurse practitioner degree from the University at Buffalo, where she obtained a master’s in nursing a year earlier. In 1974, she earned a bachelor of science nursing degree from D’Youville College.
Ms. Kontos began her career in the intensive-care nursery at Women and Children’s Hospital, and later moved to New England, where she worked as a staff nurse in the medical intensive-care unit at University Hospital in Boston, Mass., and as a drug monitor in clinical pharmacology at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, also in Boston.
In Buffalo, she worked at Sisters Hospital in the special-care nursery and at Deaconess Center skilled nursing facility in Buffalo, before returning to Women and Children’s Hospital, where she served on several committees.
She advanced to nurse clinician and pediatric nurse practitioner in the lung and cystic fibrosis center at Women and Children’s. Her workplace experiences, family members said, proved beneficial to nursing students when she became an adjunct assistant professor with UB’s School of Nursing, starting in 1984.
She also was a volunteer with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, assisting in planning annual North American conferences.
Ms. Kontos held leadership positions in the Nurse Practitioner Association of Western New York and was active in the National Association of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Associates. She also was a board member of the American Lung Association.
In 2008 she was honored with the “Commitment to Caring Award” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and was named “Nurse Practitioner of the Year” in 2005 by the Nurse Practitioner Association of Western New York. In 1990, she was the Children’s Hospital New York State “Nurse of Distinction.”
She is survived by her husband, Timothy R. Max Sr.; a son, Timothy R. Jr.; her parents, James and Ann Kontos; and a sister, Jane K. O’Donnell.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Louis Catholic Church, Main and Edward streets, Buffalo.
– Lou Michel