Vilma Mairo Bornemann Caraley

October 11, 1928 ~ June 23, 2022 (age 93)



Vilma Mairo Bornemann Caraley passed away peacefully at home on June 23, 2022, at age 93. Vilma was an inspiring educator to countless students and colleagues from 1971 to 1997 as The Dean of Studies at Barnard College. She was an instructor in the Department of Spanish and an Associate in the First Year Seminar Program. She also served as Acting Executive Director of The Academy of Political Science for the 1995–1996 academic year.

Born to Pia and Frank Mairo in Greenwich Village, Vilma grew up in New York City (fluent in English and Italian) with her adored younger brother, Joseph (who predeceased her). She graduated from Barnard College and received a master’s degree in Spanish Literature from Columbia University.

Vilma was a woman of charm, intelligence, beauty and eloquence. She went out of her way to encourage and teach women how to become leaders. Known for her very rational way in her professional performance, she was extremely compassionate and gave her time in the most extraordinary ways. She dressed in pristine fashion with the perfect red lip and was thoughtful and precise with every detail of life (in writing, speaking, gift wrapping and preparing a meal). As a teen she danced to Tommy Dorsey, and later to all types of ballroom music. She loved her NY Times, the Beatles, opera, art and a good swim, but nothing rivaled her love for her family. She wouldn’t miss any of the Tennis Opens, especially with her Rafael Nadal playing. She had a lovely temperate nature and took great pleasure in her apartment overlooking the Hudson River and being on Nantucket Island. Extremely well read and knowledgeable on almost all subjects, she also had a sense of humor and loved to laugh. She was a liberal thinker, very respectful of any person she spoke to with her tone and greetings and always so thoughtful and concerned. She believed strongly in the equal rights of all.

Cherished beyond measure by daughter Lisa Paterson and her twin grandchildren, Lucy and Wyatt (her “darlings and lovies”); beloved by sister-in-law Maureen Mairo, and nephews, David, John (Sarah) and Joseph (Aimee) and niece-in-law Laura; treasured by four grand nephews and one grand niece and numerous other family, friends, and colleagues. Widowed to John A. Bornemann in 1972. Vilma is also predeceased by son, Robert Randall (“Randy”), and son-in-law, Steven B. Paterson. Married in 1988 to Demetrios J. Caraley, who predeceased her in 2020.

Visitation will be at Feeney Funeral Home (232 Franklin Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ, 201-444-7650) on Tuesday, June 28, from 7 to 9pm. The funeral service will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (1 Passaic Street, Ridgewood, NJ, 201-444-2000) on Wednesday, June 29 at 10am. In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Vilma Bornemann Caraley '50 can be sent to Barnard College (Barnard College, Attn: Development and Alumnae Relations Office, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 (for a Scholarship Prize in Vilma’s name).



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June 28, 2022

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Feeney Funeral Home
232 Franklin Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

June 29, 2022

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel RC Church
1 Passaic Street
Ridgewood, NJ


Valleau Cemetery


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