Mary E. (DeMatteo) McPhee

December 23rd, 2013

Mary E. (DeMatteo) McPhee, 1914 – 2013, of Stoneham, in her 100th year, Mary left this world on December 21st to go home to her God and beloved husband Angus.  She and Angus were married for 70 years and he was the love of her life.  Mary was the beloved daughter of John and Philomena DeMatteo and was born in 1914 in Ward Hill, MA.  She was the sister of Bruno, Ben, Peter, Arthur, Edward, Guido and Alice all of whom predeceased her.  Mary is survived by her loving children Marilyn Chalifour and her husband Leon of Wilmington, Karen McNaughton and her husband Robert of Tewksbury, and Michael McPhee of Saugus, her grandchildren Paul Chalifour and his wife Deborah of Wilmington, William Chalifour of Lowell, Margaret Chalifour of Yarmouth, Dianne Chalifour of Portsmouth, NH, Heather Bogonis and her husband Daniel of Amherst, NH, and Robert McNaughton and his fiancee Debbie of Lowell, her three great-grandsons Justin, Samuel, and George Bogonis of Amherst, NH.  Mary is also survived by her sister-in-law Edna DeMatteo wife of Guido, many nieces, nephews, caring friends, and neighbors.

Family and friends will gather in St. Dorothy’s Church, Main Street (Rte. 38), Wilmington, on Saturday, December 28th for Visiting Hours from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. immediately followed by a Funeral Mass Celebration at 11:00 a.m.  Interment will follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Chelmsford. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary’s name may be made to St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, 90 Cushing Avenue, Dorchester, MA  02125 or to the charity of your choice.  Funeral Arrangements are under the direction of the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., Wilmington, MA.


Orrin Thomas Lawson

December 23rd, 2013

Orrin Thomas Lawson, age 67, of Wilmington, passed peacefully, surrounded with family, when he went to be with the Dear Lord, on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, following a long illness.

 Orrin was born in Cambridge, Ma, on December 1, 1946 to Herbert E. and Marion C. (Carr) Lawson.  A longtime Wilmington resident, he attended Wilmington Public Schools.

 Orrin was a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran, serving his country from 1966 to 1968, stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.

 After service duty, he worked for Vappi Construction and assisted building the Burlington Mall.  Later, he began his own home building business, “Lawson Homes.”

Orrin was married to Frances Dunbar, June 30, 1976, a school teacher for the Billerica School Department.

 During summertime, Orrin enjoyed lobstering, clamming, fishing and boating out of Winthrop, Mass (Boston Harbor); road trips to Florida, Nova Scotia with his Aunt Ethel, and Maine to visit family and friends.

 Orrin had a very special gift, a thinker and a tinkerer.  He could make and fix anything.  His passion was to tinker with cars, trucks, boat engines at Damey’s garage, and build or repair anything dealing with wood.  He was truly a “Jack of all Trades, Master of Everything.”

 Orrin had a special place in his heart for his nephew, Eddie and nieces, Dorice and Allison along with all animals, especially his beloved dogs, “Pup” and “Nuisance” and several cats.

 Along with his good-heartedness, Orrin was a volunteer firefighter for the Tewksbury and Billerica Fire Departments.

 Orrin was predeceased by his parents, several aunts, uncles and cousins.  He leaves behind and will be truly missed by his sister, Evelyn A. Reitchel; nephew Eddie Reitchel and his wife Meghan of Augusta, Maine; nieces Dorice Groshon and her husband Justin of Scarborough, Maine and Allison Keith and her husband Jesse of Bronx, NY; Great nephews Easton and Lincoln as well as several cousins.

 Orrin’s family wish to extend sincere thanks to his loving and caring life-long neighbors, the Foley’s and Connell’s; Doctors/Nurses at USVA Togus and Maine General Hospital Hospice Care.

 Relatives and friends may call at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave (Rt. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, December 28th, from 1-2 p.m., immediately followed by a funeral home service at 2:00 p.m.  Interment with Military Honors to follow in the Veterans section of Wildwood Cemetery.

 In lieu of flowers, donations in Orrin’s name can be made to the ASPA, Attn: Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC, 20090-6929 or the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA  01701.

Mary V. (Bavin) Ratchford

December 23rd, 2013

Mary V. (Bavin) Ratchford, age 91, of Wilmington, passed away peacefully on December 21, 2013 at the Winchester Hospital surrounded by her loving family.

Mary was born on February 12, 1922, in Somerville, MA. She was the cherished daughter of the late Francis and Helen (Sheehan) Bavin.  Mary was raised and educated in Somerville.

Mary married Thomas Ratchford in 1949 and the couple moved to Wilmington in 1951.  Mary and Tom became parents in 1954 to their only child Diane, whom they loved and adored. Tom’s untimely passing in 1955 left Mary to raise her only daughter as a single mother, and she rose to the occasion and did a wonderful job.

Mary was fiercely independent and a very hard worker; for many years Mary worked at Wilmington Ford before taking a job at Silver Lake Pharmacy.  Mary thrived in her position at the Pharmacy. She was not only the book keeper, but she excelled at customer service. She was also known for acting as a “one time security guard” when she chased a would be robber from the store.  Mary became everyone’s friend at the pharmacy, whether delivering their prescriptions or just being there for a conversation.

In her spare time, Mary loved to go to Maine where she made many friends throughout the years.  Mary enjoyed shopping at the outlets and in the boutiques; always looking for a bargain or a unique gift for someone.  Mary also had a great time where ever she traveled to, especially her trips to Las Vegas and Foxwoods

Mary will be fondly remembered as a woman of great faith. She was kind, caring, and compassionate but most of all she will be remembered for her unconditional love for her family.  Mary always put her family first and she would have done anything for them.  Mary was a very devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother; she was very proud of her family and she cherished all the time she spent with them.

Mary was truly an amazing woman. She was a great role model, ahead of her time in many respects, and she will be greatly missed.

Mary was the beloved wife of the late Thomas Ratchford, loving mother of Diane Sinatra and her husband Bill ofAyer, cherished “Gramma” of Linda DuCharme and her husband Bob of Wilmington, Joe Parrella and his wife Jessica of Westford and Matthew Parrella of Tewksbury,“Gramma Mary” of Robbie, Michael and Kylie DuCharme and Joseph Parrella, dear companion of Al Staniewicz of Wilmington, daughter of the late Francis andHelen (Sheehan) Bavin, sister of the late Francis, Helen, Billy, Gladys, John and Daniel, Special Aunt of Sonya LeBert and her husband Stephen of Woburn and their children Brandon and Dane LeBert.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, onSaturday, December 28th at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow in Forest Glen Cemetery, Reading. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Friday, December 27th from 4-8 p.m. Memorial donations in Mary’s name may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P. O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675,

John W. “Jack” Perloff

December 19th, 2013

John Walton Perloff passed away on December 19, 2013 in Wilmington, MA at the age of 99.  A resident of Lexington, MA from 1959 to 2012, he spent his final year at Woodbriar of Wilmington, after a fall that damaged his spinal cord.  Born in Jacksonville, FL on January 26, 1914, John (known by friends and family as Jack) was pre-deceased by three brothers, Ben, Lewis and Sam.

The four brothers grew up together in the Hebrew Orphan’s Home in Atlanta, GA during the 1920’s after the death of their mother, Mary Silver Perlovsky, left their father, Harry Perlovsky, unable to care for them. John was the last surviving former resident of the orphan’s home, a philanthropically-oriented orphanage that kept in touch with the John and his brothers well into adulthood.        

John Perloff graduated from the University of Florida in 1936 with a degree in chemical engineering, working in the chemical and rubber industry in Ohio, California and Massachusetts for all of his working life, retiring from Texas-U.S. Chemical Company in 1983.

John was married to Dorothy Relyea Perloff, a talented artist from whom he was later divorced. A talented musician, John played the drums in his college orchestra, and later in a dance band, but his true passion was for his piano, which he played every day until his fall in 2012. John created his own compositions at the piano, making recordings for friends and family who were amazed his pieces were never published.      

Well into his nineties, John remained actively engaged with the world, communicating regularly with friends and family by email, and listening to his favorite online news and classical music radio stations. Never shy about expressing his views to politicians, his desk drawer held a pile of pre-addressed envelopes to his U.S. senators. Self-reliant and independent, John had friends of all ages who will miss him greatly.    

John is survived by his son, James E. Perloff, his daughter-in-law Weihsin Chau, and grandson David Perloff of Burlington, MA, and his daughter Irene Perloff McCullough and son-in-law David A. McCullough of Atlanta, GA. He is survived by nieces Kay Felton, Susan Fowler, Martha LeFevre and Jayne Lindsay, by a nephew Alan Perloff, as well as by grand-nephews and grand-nieces, including Benjamin Horner, Courtney McKenna, and others.       

Family and friends will gather for a Funeral Service at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Saturday, December 21st at 9:30 a.m.  Interment will follow in Westview Cemetery, Lexington.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Woodbriar Employee Assistance Fund, 90 West Street, Wilmington, MA  01887.

Geraldine A. (Correnti) Pisapia

December 19th, 2013

Geraldine A. (Correnti) Pisapia, fondly known as “Gerry” to her family and friends, of Wilmington, died unexpectedly on December 18, 2013, at the age of 69.

Gerry was born on September 2, 1944, in Somerville, MA, she was the cherished daughter of the late Frank and Vera (DiMuzio) Correnti.  Gerry was raised and educated in Malden and was a graduate of Malden High School.

Gerry married the “love of her life” Louis Pisapia, on March 25, 1968; the couple shared nearly thirty wonderful years together and raised two beautiful children before his untimely passing in 1997.

Gerry and Louie lived in Wilmington for many years before moving to Stuart, Florida, where Gerry resided for 20 years.  Gerry was very outgoing and friendly, she made countless life-long friendships in Massachusetts as well as Florida, and they always had a great time together.  Gerry always made her way “home” to Massachusetts over the years and moved permanently back several years ago to be closer to her family.

Gerry made her family her number one priority; she was a very devoted and loving wife, mother, grammy, daughter, sister, and auntie.  Gerry cherished every moment spent with her family, she enjoyed family holidays and celebrations, going shopping and out to lunch with her daughter and sister, or just “hanging out” with family on the couch watching a great Lifetime movie, no matter what they were doing Gerry had fun.

When Gerry took on the role as “Grammy”, her life was even more enriched; she adored her grandchildren Jaclyn, Justin, and David, they were the light of her life.  Gerry especially relished the time spent with Jaclyn, they shared a special bond, she was just a princess in Gerry’s eyes.

In her spare time, Gerry loved to play cards and go to bingo, she was always very competitive and feisty.  Gerry enjoyed going to dinner with her girlfriends and traveling all over with her friend Gus who was a very special person in her life.

Gerry will be fondly remembered as kind, caring, and most of all very loyal to her family and friends.  Gerry would go out of her way to help anyone and she will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Gerry was the beloved wife of the late Louis Pisapia, devoted mother of Gina Fraser and her husband Greg and Louis Pisapia all of Wilmington, loving “Grammy” of Jaclyn, Justin, and David Fraser, dear sister of Debra Murphy and her husband Paul of Malden, special “Auntie” of Keleigh, Kristine, and Paul Murphy.  Gerry is also survived by many dear friends.

Family and friends will gather for a Funeral Service at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Saturday, December 21st at 11:00 a.m.  Interment will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.  Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Friday, December 20th from 4-8 p.m.  Memorial donations in Gerry’s name may be made to Mass. General Hospital Cancer Center, Yawkey Building 7th Floor, 55 Fruit St., Boston, MA  02114.


Angelo Licari

December 16th, 2013

Angelo Licari, better known as  “Lefty” to his family and friends, age 92, of Wilmington, formerly of East Boston, passed away peacefully on December 15th, 2013 at the Wingate at Andover, surrounded by his loving family.

Angelo was born in East Boston on October 23, 1921, he was the cherished son of the late Ignazio and Josephine A. (Maffeo) Licari.  Angelo was raised and educated in East Boston.

He was inducted into the United States Army on August 5, 1942 and served overseas from December of 1942 until November of 1944 with the 32nd Battalion Company B.  Angelo was honorably discharged on October 28, 1945, with the rank of Corporal; he returned home to his family in East Boston after he  proudly served his country.

Angelo married his “sweetheart” Elizabeth Leskowicz in December of 1945, they lived in East Boston until relocating to Wilmington in 1958.  Angelo and Elizabeth shared more than 40 years of marriage, raised three wonderful children, and made countless memories to last through generations to come, before her passing in November of 1986.

Lefty was known as a hard worker, he worked in the construction business all of his life and was a very talented plasterer.  Lefty was a perfectionist at his job; earning a great reputation in his field as well as amongst his clients.

Family was everything to Lefty, he loved spending time with his children and grandchildren and teaching them some of “life’s lessons” whether it was about work, sports, politics, or just showing them how to do something, he was always willing to give “his opinion”.  Angelo had a passion for cooking and made many delicious meals for his family and friends.   Angelo was known as an avid sports fan and enjoyed watching countless Red Sox and Patriots games together with his family.   Angelo was very personable, friendly, and a social magnet; in his spare time he spent many hours volunteering for the E.N. Rogers Veterans Hospital in Bedford where he would talk and listen to fellow Veterans and he made quite a difference in their lives.

In his spare time Angelo loved to golf, he was a member of the Patriot Golf in Bedford and relished in telling his stories of not only one whole in one but he shot three holes in one over his golfing career.  Everyone wanted to golf with Angelo and he always left them laughing. Angelo was also a member of the Elks in Wakefield where he made countless friends throughout the years.

Angelo will be remembered for his sense of humor and his willingness to help others.  He always made you feel comfortable in his presence and was quite a “character” when you go to know him, many will say they “broke the mold” when they made Angelo and he will be greatly missed by all.

Angelo was the beloved husband of the late Elizabeth (Leskowicz) Licari, loving father of the late Dennis Licari, his wife Elsbeth Licari of Reading, JoAnn Botte and her husband Frank of Wilmington and Leonard Licari and his wife Sharon of Haverhill, cherished “Grampy” of Christian Botte, Nicholas, Jennette and Kathryn Licari, Michael, Elizabeth and Anthony Licari, “Great-Grampy” of Kayley Gibbons, Adriana, Victoria and Dennis Licari and Christian and Rachel Botte, loving companion of Dorothy “Jean” Beckler of Newton, son of the late Ignazio and Josephine (Maffeo) Licari, brother of the late James Licari of Andover, cousin of Rose McKenna of Tewksbury and Connie Carlson of Seabrook, NH.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Friday, December 20th at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m.  Interment with Military Honors to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington.  Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Thursday, December 19th from 4-8 p.m.

Memorial donations in Angelo’s name may be made to the VA Medical Center, c/o Voluntary Services to be used for the Care & Relaxation of Inpatients, 200 Springs Road, Bedford, MA  01730.

Anthony G. “Tony” Estrella

December 10th, 2013

Anthony G. Estrella, “Tony”, age 78, a resident of Billerica for 60 years, passed Monday, December 9, 2013, quietly at home cared for by family and friends.

 Anthony was born on January 7, 1935, in San Miguel Azores, the beloved son of the late Anthony Estrella, and the late Mary (Vieira Garcia) Estrella.

 A native of the Azores, Anthony Estrella came to this country at the age of thirteen. Although he has always shown artistic talent, he never thought that this would become his profession. A fall from a tree at the age of fifteen left him a quadriplegic.  Since life has a way of sculpturing itself, Mr. Estrella found himself honing his artistic talents until it became a part of him. Portraitures were his specialty and the life force that he brought to a painting was amazing to see. To capture someone’s face and place it on canvas is a feat, but Mr. Estrella goes a step further as he seems to capture a person’s spirit. The eyes especially follow you, and in a semi dark room you would swear that the person in his painting is alive and ready to speak. 

 Not willing to get stuck in a rut, Mr. Estrella also created beautiful landscapes, seascapes, and still life paintings. Many of these works are of real places, but many others are a creation of his imagination. Tony takes bits and pieces of his travels and places them together to form a new location created by the images in his mind. His seascapes especially bear pieces of his childhood in the Azores. The faces of the fisherman going about their daily work show their love of the sea or the toll the sea takes from them. The detail is perfect down to the tiny knots in the fishing nets. 

 Mr. Estrella worked mainly in oils, but his talent also extended to other mediums. He was an accomplished sculpturer, carver and collector. Photography helped him in his art as he would take picture after picture of a piece of his intended work, a rigging on a sail for example. He then uses the picture to make sure the rigging is technically correct when he goes to paint the sail.   

 Although Tony spent many hours on his own work, he found that teaching art was very fulfilling. He enjoyed his role as teacher stating that “you meet all types of people, and you feel good when they turn out something they are proud of.” Over the years he had many, many students. Some of them were strictly hobbyists, taking lessons for the night out or the camaraderie of the classroom while others have taken their talents and exhibited or sold their works. Tony said it gave him great pleasure when he would travel the summer circuit in Maine or Rockport, Massachusetts and see work exhibited by a former student. “It’s like seeing your child accomplish a goal”. 

 Over the years Mr. Estrella exhibited in many venues. He won many awards and accolades for his work and several of his pieces hang in prominent locations. It is however still the love of his art that gives him excitement. Parting with his work is sometimes difficult especially if it is a piece that holds memories. One of his older works labeled “Town Drunk” has been sold twice and twice Tony bought it back. “It is a portrait of a real person in the Azores. A kind, lovable man who somehow let alcohol take over his life, but when you talked to him you heard the wisdom of the world and in his eyes you saw the joy and pain of life. Somehow I just can’t let this painting go. It still hangs in my home and when I look at it, it humbles me.” 

 Sadly, the light has dimmed on Tony’s talent as he quietly passed away at the age of 78, on Monday, December 9, 2013. 

 Anthony is survived by a sister Theresa (Teri) LaBella and her husband John F. Doherty of Wilmington, a brother John G. Estrella and his wife Diane of Billerica, a sister Rosalie (Rose) Fitch and her husband John of Wilmington. He also leaves a niece, Stacy LaBella and her daughter Cecilia Taucher of Billerica and three nephews; Jacob Fitch, Joshua Fitch and Justin Fitch of Wilmington.

 Family and friends will gather for Mr. Estrella’s funeral at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, December 14th at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m.  Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington.  Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Friday, December 13th from 3-7 p.m. 

 Donations to Anthony’s memory may be made to Wilmington Rotary Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 503, Wilmington MA.

James Joseph “Joe” Gilligan, Jr.

December 9th, 2013

James Joseph Gilligan, Jr., “Joe”, age 84, a life-long resident of Wilmington, died unexpectedly, December 8, 2013, at home.

Joe was born in Woburn, MA, on August 8, 1929; he was the dear son of the late James J., Sr. and Mary E. (Koschwitz) Gilligan.  He was raised in the Silver Lake section of Wilmington where he made many life-long friends.  Joe was a graduate of Wilmington High School with the class of 1947 and went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from St. Anselm College in 1951. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University in 1959.

Joe was drafted by the United States Marines on October 22, 1951, having been selected from a gymnasium full of USMC candidates. He served as a Staff Sergeant overseas during the Korean War.  Joe received several commendations including the United Nations Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal.  Joe was proud to be a Marine, and was honorably discharged on October 21, 1953 and returned to his family in Wilmington.

Joe married the “love of his life” Patricia A. Tighe on June 25, 1955, sharing more than 58 years together and raising a beautiful family.  Joe was very devoted to his wife and children; they had many great times throughout the years.

Joe went to work as a science teacher for the Wilmington Public Schools in 1954. Joe was not only a teacher and disciplinarian but he was a devoted educator, a mentor, and a friend to countless students.  Joe had a reputation for being “fair”, giving the kids the benefit of the doubt, but always holding his students accountable and molding them into good people.  Joe taught life lessons to students that carried them throughout their adulthood and he was also a favorite among his co-workers.  Joe spent many years as a Vice-Principal of the West Intermediate but first and foremost, he considered himself a teacher.  Joe retired in 1998, following many years of dedicated service to the community.

After his own play of sports in high school and after graduate school, his love of sports continued; baseball, baseball, baseball, as he lived and breathed.  Joe was the Wilmington High School “Wildcats” baseball coach from 1956 – 1971, with more than a few winning seasons. Joe also coached and refereed Wilmington youth hockey; he just loved to watch the kids play sports always rooting them on.

Joe was an avid Red Sox fan, and he also enjoyed watching countless Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox games with his family and friends.  He was also an avid reader in many genres, a history buff, and he enjoyed making up and playing games with his children and grandchildren.

Joe will be notably remembered for his dry sense of humor; he always came out with a good “one liner” and was often looked to for adding humor to any situation.  Joe will be fondly remembered as hardworking, honest, kind, caring, and most of all devoted and loving to his family and a true friend to many.  Joe will be missed not only by his family and friends but by a community that he served so well.

Joe was the beloved husband of Patricia A. (Tighe) Gilligan, devoted father of Kathleen Gilligan and her husband Tom Angelo of Oakland, CA, Theresa D’Arcangelo and her husband Joseph of Reading, MA, Eileen Cantone and her husband David of Plaistow, NH, James D. Gilligan and his companion Gina Johnston of Auburn, NH, Shannon Gilligan of North Andover, MA, and Timothy Gilligan and his wife Karen of Hudson, NH. Joe was the loving “Grampy” of James D’Arcangelo and his wife Patricia, John D’Arcangelo, Dominic, Vincent, and Michael Cantone, Tabitha Gilligan, Patrick, Liam, Bridget, and Declan Gilligan, and great-grandson Anthony Joseph D’Arcangelo.  He was the cherished son of the late James J., Sr. and Mary E. (Koschwitz) Gilligan, and dear brother of Elizabeth Cavanaugh of Londonderry, NH.  Joe is also survived by his brother-in-law, Jay Tighe and his wife Jeanette of Wilmington, as well as sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Thursday, December 12th for Visitation from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon immediately followed by a Funeral Service at 12:00 noon.

In lieu of flowers donations in Joe’s memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P. O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS  66675,

Claire T. (Meyer) Stemmler

December 6th, 2013

 Claire T. (Meyer) Stemmler, age 78, of Wilmington, died peacefully at home on December 5, 2013, with her loving family at her side.

 Claire was born on December 27, 1934 in Nordhorn, Germany.  She was one of four daughters of the late Johannes and Elisabeth (Hillbrink) Meyer. Claire was raised in Germany and made her first trip to the United States in 1955, where she first met “the love of her life” Heinz W. Stemmler.  

Claire and Heinz married on May 10, 1958 at the Boston Trinity Church. After they were married, Claire and Heinz made the United States their permanent residence. They first moved to Dedham and then Roslindale before settling in Wilmington in 1964. Here, they shared more than 55 years of marriage and raised a beautiful family together.

 Claire was a devoted mother and her first priority was raising her three children: Mike, Ron and Monika. Claire and Heinz’s door was always open and their home became the neighborhood “drop in center” for all the local children.

 Claire took great pride in her home. She was meticulous as a house keeper and as an avid gardener. Claire worked hard in her yard, letting her artistic ability take over.  She created many beautiful gardens. 

 Claire worked part time at Avon, starting out as a sales clerk. Through her hard work she was promoted to district manager. After, Claire worked for DeCrosta Florist in Wilmington for many years. Claire loved “her flowers”. She had a knack for designing and a great personality to tend to the customers.  

 In her spare time, Claire loved to travel with her family. Whether it was taking trips with her husband and children throughout Germany and Europe or their annual weeks camping in Maine with the grandchildren, she always made the most of their time together and cherished every moment. 

 Claire will always be remembered as a beautiful woman, inside and out. She was loving, caring, and most of all, giving of her time to others. Claire’s unconditional love and devotion to her family and friends was always evident. She will forever be missed by all who knew and loved her.

 Claire was the beloved wife to Heinz W. Stemmler, devoted mother of Mike Stemmler and his wife Michelle of South Lawrence, Ron Stemmler and his wife Cheryl of Wilmington, and Monika Wright and her husband Grant of New Boston, NH, loving “Oma” Ryan and Shawna Rae Stemmler, Derek and Meghan Stemmler, Brittney and Colby Wright, cherished daughter of the late Johannes and Elisabeth (Hillbrink) Meyer, dear sister of Hildegard Kramer of Germany, the late Elisabeth Von Den Benken of West Roxbury,Ma and the late Maria Juengehuesing of Germany. Life-long best friend and sister in-law to Sigrid and Karl Stemmler of Dracut, Ma. Claire is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and a large extended family in Europe.

 Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Wednesday, December 11th at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 10th from 4-8 p.m.

 Memorial donations Claire’s name may be made to the VNA of Middlesex East & Visiting Nurse Hospice, 607 North Ave., Suite 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.

JoAnne D. (Bucci) DiJulia

December 6th, 2013

JoAnne D. (Bucci) DiJulia, age 67, of Wilmington, formerly of Medford, died peacefully at home on December 5, 2013, surrounded by her loving family after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

 JoAnne was born on July 17, 1946 in Cambridge, MA.  She was the cherished only child of Joseph V. and the late Evelyn (Sarkisian) Bucci.  JoAnne grew up in Medford and was a graduate of Medford High School.

JoAnne attended Boston College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education.  Her first teaching position was in the Revere Public Schools, where she taught from 1968 – 1976.  JoAnne loved the children, she was committed to her students, and was just a “natural” as an educator. 

JoAnne married her husband, Joseph W. DiJulia, in 1971.  The couple moved to Wilmington in 1975, where they raised their two sons, Marc and Christopher.  JoAnne was a very dedicated wife and mother, her family was her world.   JoAnne’s love and devotion for her boys was unconditional; whether it was a sporting event or special function, she would be right there, very enthusiastic, always cheering them on.   As JoAnne’s sons grew into young men, she supported their decisions and encouraged them to be wonderful adults.  JoAnne was so proud of the adults that they became and they thought of her as the best mother they could have wished for. 

 When JoAnne became “Grandma” to Christopher’s daughters, Kaitlyn and Lily, her life took on new meaning, and she cherished every moment that was spent with her little girls; they lit up her life.

 Prior to retiring this past March, JoAnne was employed as the billing manager at Children’s Hospital in Boston.  JoAnne loved her job and was a favorite amongst her co-workers.  JoAnne’s work reached far beyond the billing department; she was actively involved in countless fund raisers and blood drives throughout the hospital especially “pints for half pints”, it was one of her favorites.  JoAnne met many families in need of assistance throughout the years; her compassion, dedications, and level of care was always a priority to her.  JoAnne was often seen  in the Hospital Chapel where she would organize Masses, run special services, or she would just be there to lend a hand, an ear, or a hug to someone in need.  Children’s Hospital became an extended family to JoAnne.

 JoAnne’s faith led her to be an integral member of St. Dorothy’s Parish.  She was not only an active communicant but she taught CCD, was a member of the Finance Committee, a large part of fundraising, a Eucharistic Minister, and most importantly a Lector every weekend.  JoAnne was a woman of great faith, strength, and courage, it was these traits along with the endless support from her family and friends that helped JoAnne fight through her illness, never giving up hope.

 In her spare time, JoAnne loved to travel, especially with family and friends.  Some of her favorite trips included New York, Italy and Alaska.  JoAnne also enjoyed exercising, she was an active member of Curves and she would often be seen walking countless miles around Wilmington greeting folks with a wave or a smile.

 JoAnne will be remembered for her warm personality and for her dedication to others.  She led her life with the utmost dignity and class; she was truly one of a kind and will be greatly missed.