Friends and family of Marivel Estevez, a 39-year-old found killed in her Mineola apartment on July 30, remembered and celebrated her life on Tuesday morning.
Estevez’s funeral mass was held at St. Agnes Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Rockville Centre and near where she grew up. Her body was borne to the cathedral on a white horse-drawn hearse. Loved ones came from as far as Florida, where she had lived for a time, and from the Dominican Republic.
Estevez’s niece Cybele Ramirez offered words of remembrance at the start of the service. “My earliest memory of Titi Mari was watching her slather and scrunch gel into her long wet curls in the bathroom of my grandfather’s apartment just two blocks from here,” she said. “She was tan, lanky and gorgeous.”
Ramirez remembered her aunt as a vibrant and loving fixture of their family. “She was loud,” she said. “Her voice, her hair, her wardrobe. Everything she did was just loud. Her presence was always known.” Ramirez recalled how her aunt helped her navigate the world of clothes, makeup, and social media over the years. “In those moments, I felt so cool. I felt seen.”
“She lived with so much pride for herself and for the people she loved,” said Ramirez. “Life without her will certainly feel quieter. I am so grateful and blessed that she was my aunt, and that she was my friend.”
“She would have wanted us to remember her not with tears in our eyes, or resentment in our hearts. She would want us to think about her and smile.”
Father Bright Appaigyei-Boakye, the celebrant of the mass, reflected on Estevez’s sudden and premature passing. “Her death reminds us that life is so short, that each day of our lives, let us try our best to value our brothers and sisters, no matter what. No matter the challenges,” he said.
Estevez’s boyfriend Mark E. Small, a former Rockville Centre restaurateur, stands accused of her killing and has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. He will next appear in court on August 29.