Mrika Xhema — Obituary

A devoted wife. A great friend and philanthropist.

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Mrika Xhema, a longtime resident of Greenwich CT, passed away at her home on Friday April 17, 2020 at 10:00 pm. Mrs. Xhema was born in Livari, Montenegro on February 24, 1946 and moved to the United States in 1969, where she served as Executive Secretary of Xhema Industries, owned by her husband Jim, who she met in Belgrade, where they were both educated.

Mrs. Xhema was a devout Catholic and a member of Saint Mary Church in Greenwich, where she was noted for her kindness and philanthropy. She was recognized many, many times for her generosity, especially for her significant donation to the new construction of the Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa in Pristina, Kosovo which was built after the US led war in 1999. She was considered by friends and parishioners as “a very charitable and giving person who never had a bad word to say about anyone.”  One of her former doctors once described her faith as “quantum,” and she maintained this devotion to faith daily, even consulting with her childhood priest via video conference from Tivar, Montenegro, most recently, to help her through the final days of her life.

Despite her long illness, Mrs. Xhema was always happy and optimistic, possessing a unique, distinctive quality that positively affected everyone around her. Friends always cited her wonderful sense of humor and dry wit. A close friend recently described Mrs. Xhema as “an exceptional woman: the embodiment of dignity, gentility, intelligence and beauty.”  The last years of her life were difficult as she battled illness, yet she never complained or showed any self-pity whatsoever.

During her healthy years, Mrika loved to socialize and travel with her husband and their many friends. Mrika felt blessed that she saw so much of the world and was sincerely grateful to have experienced so many different countries and cultures. She spoke four languages fluently and was renowned for her photographic memory. Mrika loved American cinema and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and was a jazz aficionado as well. Mrika always had a distinct understanding of fashion, jewelry and interior design, something she studied in her early years.

Even in the last years of her life she was always dressed for the occasion often meeting friends out for lunch, dinner or shopping to lift her spirits. As her health declined in her final days, she was still impeccably dressed every day, even though some of those days she could not leave the house.

Mrika Pecaj Xhema is survived by her husband Jim Xhema and a large, proud family throughout the tri-state area. She left us peacefully, surrounded by her husband and friends while listening to Jazz.

(Due to social distancing regulations during this difficult time, only a private Catholic burial will take place. A full funeral mass and celebration of life will be scheduled as soon as permitted.)

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Mrika Xhema’s name to UNICEF or Save the Children; two of her favorite charities.

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