WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maria K. Sealy grew up on Shirley Street east of Mackey Street in New Providence near an area known as The Pond which produced a number of successful and industrious Bahamians in a variety of professions. Indeed, her sister, Patricia Mortimer, is one of The Bahamas’ most successful female entrepreneurs.
So it is not surprising that Maria has also successfully established herself as a business woman and is currently co-owner of Sealy Cuyler Funeral Home, LLC, located on Pacific Street between Franklin and Classon Avenues in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in Nassau, she recalls that she was very athletic. She was a member of the Bahamas National Softball team and played basketball at the Charley Major Stadium, St. Francis Grounds and Paul Adderley Gym.
She attended St. Joseph and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Churches in Nassau as well as primary and secondary schools in Nassau, subsequently graduating from Miami Dade Community College in Miami, Florida.
Maria has been involved in funeral service for over thirty-two years, starting her career in Miami under the guidance of the legendary Anthelia Range, Funeral Director and Owner of the Range Funeral Home, the number one funeral home in southwest Florida.
Upon completing her training in Florida, Maria returned to the Bahamas. In 1989 she started her own funeral service business, and from 1989 to 1993, she was owner, manager and funeral director of the Good Shepherd Funeral Home.
In 1993 out of desire to further advance in funeral service, she relocated to the United States. From 1993 to 2005 she worked for several funeral establishments in the New York Metropolitan area.
In November of 2006, Maria teamed up with Renaye B. Cuyler to open a state-of-the-art facility built from the ground up, the first women of color to do so in the state of New York.
Sealy Cuyler Funeral Home, LLC, comprises over 5500 square feet of interior space and over 4000 square feet of parking at the rear of the building.
“This facility captures your eyes as you turn on to Pacific from Franklin Avenue as you can see the home’s green exterior beckoning to you,” Maria proudly says. “Outside it has two flags flying: The American Flag and the other flag representing the home country of the deceased (e.g. Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, etc).”
Since opening in 2006 Sealy Cuyler Funeral Home, LLC, has served over 500 families and has become known for providing personalized service that is tailored to the unique needs of each family. In 2008 and 2015 Maria was given Business Visionary Awards by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
Maria is the mother of two sons, Mario and Marcian, and has five grandchildren: Mason, Kaelep, Ariel, Ashanti, Angel, and one great grandson, Jewzl.
She visits The Bahamas at least three times a year and keeps abreast of what’s happening in her country.
Asked what are her hopes and dreams for the country of your birth, she said, “I really hope that there is a decrease in crime, particularly murders, and that the Baha Mar Resort soon opens to create more job opportunities.”
Oswald T. Brown is the Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager with The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C.