Jeanette M. Meuse (Scarlata), 92, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, passed away peacefully at Adviniacare on February 10, 2023, following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s.
Jay, as she was known to family and friends, was born on January 8, 1931, in South Boston, to the late Hugo Scarlata and the late Esther (Nelson) Scarlata. Her heart always belonged to Southie, where she spent many of her days at Carson Beach. She later moved to Dorchester and graduated from Dorchester High School for Girls in 1948. She worked as a secretary and corporate journalist at John Hancock in Boston for several years. Jay loved dancing, rodeos, and travel, especially her opportunity-of-a-lifetime tour of continental Europe in 1958. Cupid’s arrow intervened halfway through that trip to pull away Jay’s travelling companion. Rather than heading home, Jay completed the trip solo; an unusual step for that day and time.
Jay married James H. Meuse, Jr. on April 18, 1959, and settled in Wakefield, where she and her husband built their life and raised four children.
Her deep commitment to family meant a constant stream of visits by friends and family throughout the years. She hosted joyfully chaotic Thanksgiving dinners for up to two dozen family members and often, it seemed, as many different desserts. She was actively involved in her children’s lives and in the community, serving in the St. Joseph’s Church (Wakefield) Mothers’ Club, serving as chaperone for countless elementary school field trips, serving as a Brownie and Cub Scout leader, and working as a lunch lady in school cafeterias. Her house was always open to all, including her children’s friends, both in childhood and adulthood. It was so common for weekday family dinners to include an extra chair for an older sibling’s friend that the younger siblings thought they had more siblings than they actually did.
Jay was known for her constant sewing projects, from curtains to clothes, and her expertise in cooking and especially baking. From the world’s best lasagna to half-moon cookies and whoopie pies, she made sure nobody ever went hungry, and she made sure there was always something in the freezer for unexpected guests. Her energy seemed boundless. Should you slip into the kitchen early in the morning to get a drink of water with the plan of returning to your slumber, you best move fast or else risk finding your bed all made up. And your room tidied as well.
She instilled the values of service, honesty, and integrity in her children. She also instilled a love of reading and the pursuit of knowledge. Life circumstances prevented Jay from achieving her dream of going to college to become a journalist, but she worked tirelessly to ensure that all four children received undergraduate and graduate degrees, including her daughter’s graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. She also instilled in her children a love of travel and exploration; although she was unable to do much international traveling as a mom, she was able to visit Ireland and the UK, as well as Nova Scotia, later in life.
Jay was preceded in death by her beloved husband, James H. Meuse, Jr. She is survived by her sons, James (and his wife, Lai Kuan) of Melrose, Kevin (and his wife, Susan Wong) of Sudbury, and Brian of Woburn; and her daughter, Mariane (and her husband, William Mears) of Reston, VA. She is also survived by seven loving grandchildren: Rachel, Saoirse, Jeremy, Miranda, Amy, Matilda, and Scarlett. She is survived by her sister, Mary Spinazzolo, of Middleborough, her brother, Paul Scarlata (and his wife, Patricia), of California, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers Thomas Scarlata and Robert Scarlata, MD, but is survived by her sisters-in-law, Antoinette (“Dolly”) and Jacqueline. She was also preceded in death by her brother-in-law, Matthew Spinazzolo.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to The Scholarship Foundation of Wakefield or the charity of your choice. Arrangements in the care of the McDonald Funeral Home, Wakefield. For obit/guestbook, www.mcdonaldfs.com. Inurnment will be at Blue Hills Cemetery and the family and friends will gather for a joint celebration of her and her husband’s life at a later date.