Bayside business owner known as ‘first businesswoman of Queens’ dies at 90

Photo courtesy of Adria Hotel and Conference Center

Bayside businesswoman Mary Mindel passed away in her Great Neck home on Sunday, Jan. 13. She was 90 years old.

In 1969, Mindel, a Holocaust survivor, opened Bayside’s Adria Motor Inn, a business that is now known as Adria Hotel and Conference Center at 221-17 Northern Blvd. Her local newspaper nicknamed her “the first businesswoman of Queens.”

Her business was built around “the principles of family and friendship” and she was known for treating her employees and guests like family and friends. Mindel’s family continues to run the hotel, which employs over 250 people with full benefits.

Mindel’s life began on June 17, 1928, as one of 11 children born in the small village of Trzebinia, Poland. When she was 11 years old, Nazis invaded her hometown and immediately murdered her father and oldest brother.

Following the invasion, Mindel, her mother and nine of her siblings were sent to work at the Sudetenland work camp where she “survived death marches in the snow, an encounter with Joseph Mengele and tuberculosis.” Her mother and three of her siblings did not survive the atrocities of the camp.

Mindel and her six surviving siblings immigrated to the United States and “remained close throughout their lives.”

Once in America, she met her husband Sam and the couple were married for 40 years until Sam’s death in 1992. The couple started their lives in Astoria, moved to Little Neck and eventually settled in Lake Success to raise three children and host their extended family.

According to a New York Times obituary, her husband was born in Poland during World War II and also spent time in a Nazi concentration camp. He founded the Hydraulic Plumbing and Heating Corporation in 1952, “which became one of the largest contracting companies in the metropolitan area.”

Both Mindel and her husband were philanthropic, often donating to causes including UJA Boston University Medical Center, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County and The Holocaust and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, among many others.

Mindel is survived by her sister Rose, her three children Marlene, Joseph and Alan, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.