Mary Torrieri
Mary Torrieri (Baltimore Sun)

Mary Torrieri, the host of an Italian-American radio program who was also active in local charities, died of heart failure Dec. 29 at Riderwood Village in Rockville. The former Towson resident was 94.

Born Mary Nagro in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of Joseph Nagro, a stonemason, and Agatha "Ida" DiBrigida Nagro, a homemaker. She attended St. Mary's School in North Philadelphia was a graduate of Hallahan Girls High School.


She moved to Baltimore and was an administrative assistant in the 1960 U.S. Census. She helped train 600 enumerators, reported daily counts and performed other duties.

Mrs. Torrieri became the producer, director and announcer of an Italian-American radio show,the "Songs of Italy, Italian Festival and the Mary Torrieri Show." In 1993, she broadcast her show live from an annual Italian festival at Patterson Park.

In 1994, the Golden Radio Buffs of Maryland gave Mrs. Torrieri an award for excellence in radio broadcasting.

"My mother featured Italian and Italian-American music and singers, but her announcing was done in English, a format that expanded her audience beyond Italians and Italian-Americans to the vast English-speaking market," said her son, Dr. Don J. Torrieri, who lives in Silver Spring.

She had also worked as a model, freelance writer and hostess for WBAL radio and television public service shows. She also worked for the University of Maryland Extension Service Homemaker Club.

Mrs. Torrieri assisted at the "Italy at Work" exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art and was a vice president of the Caruso Circle of the Baltimore Opera Guild.

She had been a co-chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Ball and was a past chair of the Baltimore Monteverdi Society. Active in the Order Sons of Italy of America, she founded its San Martino and Carnevale dances.

She was cultural chair of the 1976 Italian Festival and co-chair of the Northern Italian Earthquake Relief Fund.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to her son, survivors include a daughter Rina M. Nastopka of Carlsbad, Calif.; two brothers, Joseph Nagro of Fort Myers, Fla., and Michael Nagro of Maricopa, Ariz.; three sisters, Nancy DiPietro, Terri Herbst and Agnes Cifaldi, all of Philadelphia; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband of 69 years, Peter Torrieri, an advertising executive, died in 2009.