Cover photo for Michael John Nasella's Obituary
Michael John Nasella Profile Photo

Michael John Nasella

August 22, 1930 — January 27, 2024


Michael John Nasella


August 22, 1930 to January 27, 2024

One of a kind man

Michael J. Nasella—a master carpenter and local philanthropist who treasured family, endowed a scholarship, and established a fund to help the poor passed away on January 27th at Bear Hill Nursing Center in Stoneham, Massachusetts. He was 93 years old. 

Mike, as he was called, was a fixture in the town of Wakefield. He lived there his entire life, residing in a family compound that has been in the Nasella Family for well over 100 years. Never married, he remained deeply committed to family, friends, colleagues, and community, someone always available to help out in a pinch. 

The youngest of eight children, Mike was born on August 22, 1930, in Wakefield, to Saverio Nasella  and Maria Naimo Nasella, who immigrated to the US in 1901 and married in 1910. The family, including four boys and four girls, lived at 18-20 Melvin Street, where they raised vegetables, small farm animals, fruit trees and grapes for wine.  

Proud of his Italian heritage

Terrific meals appeared at Maria’s kitchen table (succeeding generations called her Nana), the aromas of tomato sauce, meatballs, and pasta permeating the house. Deeply proud of his Italian heritage, Mike would grow up to travel to his parents’ birthplace 

After graduating from Wakefield High in 1950, Mike obtained a degree in Vocational Education from Fitchburg State University. He served in the Air Force Reserve from 1955-1958, achieving the rank of Sergeant.  

An artisan to his core, able to visualize solutions in seconds, Mike was an entrepreneur and virtuoso carpenter who started as a cabinet maker, and then transitioned to building houses, specializing in remodels of all shapes/sizes. His carpentry was comparable to fine furniture, his collection of home improvement tools notorious.  

Importance of experiential education

When he transitioned from his own business to teaching, Mike started at Northeast Metro Technical School where he taught carpentry and the importance of experiential education to many generations of local students. 

Mike has endowed the “Michael J Nasella Scholarship Fund” at Northeastern University for graduates of Northeast Metro Tech and Wakefield High who attend the University. The Cooperative Education Program at Northeastern provides students with opportunities to alternate academic study with full-time employment related to their majors and interests.  

A member of the Wakefield Auxiliary Police Department, he served as Parking Clerk for 25 years, processing and issuing fines for parking violations and other municipal violations. Despite the penalties, those who met Mike in person remember him as a caring and dear friend. 

Never idle, he owned and operated Mike’s Gun Shop, a part-time venture that drew police officers, FBI agents, and other law enforcement officials. Mike was their trusted firearms dealer and, of course, friend. 

Family was everything

A life-long bachelor, Uncle Mike, as kin called him, lavished all his attention on his extended family, which he considered his primary responsibility in life. Instantly available to anyone who needed his love and support, he never asked for anything in return.  

He assisted the spouses of his deceased brothers and sisters with everyday pressures, including financial support and endless home improvements. He loved to advise his many nephews and nieces on whatever issues they were dealing with and was always available by phone.  

As the oldest living Nasella, and having lived through the Pearl Harbor attack, WWII, the Korean War, JFK’s assassination, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11, he had a treasure trove of stories and insight. The youngsters thought him “cool.” His various hobbies—collecting toy soldiers, rare stamps, antique tools—leant Uncle Mike a certain mystique, magnified a hundredfold when a child was gifted with a toy soldier or rare coin.  

His values were among his greatest qualities. Trusting, even tempered, hard-working, Mike never asked anyone to do anything he would not do himself. He also had a unique filing system where he alone could find what he needed.  

The Nasella name

The Nasella name is legendary in Wakefield. During the First World War, Uncle Mike’s cousin, Henry J. Nasella, was 16 years old when he was killed in France. In honor of his service, The Nasella Playground was bestowed in his honor.  

One of Mike’s greatest joys came when he visited his family’s birthplace of Monacilioni, a small town in Southern Italy. Escorted on the trip by his nephew Henry Nasella, Mike was elated to discover one of his great aunts living in a nursing home run by the Catholic Church. For the next several hours, two people who had never met were able to catch up a on lifetime of memories.  

The nearby province of Campobasso, Molise provided Mike with the opportunity to search his family’s birth and marriage records, along with other notable history. During the day and evening, he partook of amazing Italian pasta, wine, and meeting new friends he came across on his journey. He was able to return multiple times over the latter part of his life. 

A giant appetite

For someone with a slender build, Mike had a giant appetite. Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, and he relished the traditional turkey dinner with family. He would deliberate over every bite, enjoying the food as much as the conversation, while eating everyone under the table. 

Above all, Uncle Mike will be remembered by his adoring family and beloved Wakefield community for his untold devotion, morality, kindness, and faith in others. 

Uncle Mike is survived by numerous nephews and nieces, Henry Nasella of Cambridge, MA; Diane Nasella of Wakefield, MA; Robert Nasella of Melrose, MA; William Nasella of Stoneham, MA; Cheryl Robles of Boca Raton, FL; Donna Lee Peldunas of Newton, NJ, and Rose Terease McKay of Danvers, MA. He is predeceased by his parents; sisters, Rose, Antoinette, Teresa, Lucy, and brothers, Joseph, William, Henry. 

Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Friday, February 2 from 4-7PM. 

His Funeral Service will be private and a private burial will take place at Saint Patrick Cemetery, Stoneham. 

In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations be sent to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Institute for Clinical Research, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, MA 01805, 781-744-01805,

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael John Nasella, please visit our flower store.

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