Michelle “Mickey” Prendergast (nee Caputo) passed away on Wednesday, May 15. She was 59.
She is remembered for her ability to make people feel welcome and find the good in them, said her husband, Mark J. Prendergast, professor at St. John’s University.
“She always had a smile, a joke, a story and a touch on the arm, just for that personal connection,” he said.
“[She was] just brimming with life and the joy of life and [tried] to share that and pass that on to everyone she met.”
Prendergast worked at Donovan’s in Bayside for more than 30 years, beginning in the late 1970s until 2007. She worked as a waitress and became the pub’s first female bartender.
Her husband of 13 years said she cherished her work and was known by hundreds for her character and love of life.
“She was always quick with a quip and a smile,” he said. “She loved the work, she loved Donovan’s, she loved the people.”
But her ability to touch anyone she met extended well past the popular Bell Boulevard spot and into the lives of children and the elderly.
Prendergast became a certified childcare technician and worked at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital from 1998 to 2000, while working at Donovan’s.
She sang to the children, her husband said, and normally got unresponsive children to interact with her.
After getting her associate’s degree in 2004, Prendergast obtained a bachelor’s degree from Queens College in 2006 on a scholarship.
She then went to work with Alzheimer’s patients at Ozanam Hall in Bayside. She used her people skills, cultivated over years of working in the service industry, and found important days in history to keep patients’ minds sharp.
“She told me she brought the same skill set and same philosophy to working with Alzheimer’s patients as she did working as a bartender, which is making them smile, making them laugh,” her husband said.
Prendergast was known by many and organized a Bell Boulevard reunion last summer that saw hundreds of patrons reunite, something she particularly took pride in.
“I was very happy she was able to do that and she got such a sense of joy and satisfaction,” her husband said. “She really felt she had done a good deed in bringing everyone back together. And I think you could say that about a lot of her life.”
Prendergast is survived by her husband and siblings Brendan Caputo, Denise Pymm, Kevin Caputo and Eugene Caputo.
Services will be held Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. at the Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home, 149-20 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11354.
A funeral mass will be held on Monday, May 20 at 10:45 a.m. at Mary’s Nativity Roman Catholic Church, 46-02 Parsons Boulevard in Flushing. Interment will follow at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery.