Philip (Felice) Spagnuolo, Sr., 79, of Wakefield, died peacefully at his home and in the company of loved ones on November 11.
Philip's life story symbolizes the American Dream. Born to a farming family in Avellino, Italy on October 19, 1942, Philip was a high-energy boy eager for a different life. At 14 years old, he boarded a passenger ship headed for a 10-day voyage to America. Without his parents, any money, or a word of English, Philip made his way from the Port of Naples to New York, and eventually the Boston area. With no formal schooling, Philip began his life of labor. For the next 50+ years, Philip worked mightily, often seven days a week, to support his appreciative family and ensure that his children had a better life. He was proud of the paths his children chose-Philip. Jr. as a politician, Laurie as a small business owner, and Dee as an attorney. He instilled in his children a belief that with hard work and determination, any dream is achievable, and he embraced their dreams as his own, supporting them every step of the way.
Despite his many working hours, Philip always found time for family. When his children were young, Sunday afternoons were spent enjoying long, Italian meals under the grapevines, complete with homemade sauce, pasta, wine, and meats cured with Philip's special recipe, and followed by a lively game of bocce in the backyard. And as his children grew, family time centered around youth athletics. Philip rarely missed his children's sporting events, even if it meant driving through the night from a distant worksite, just to turn around and do it again the next day. When it came to his children and then his grandchildren, Philip's energy, sacrifice and dedication knew no bounds, and he delighted in sharing traditions from "the Old Country" with the next generations. His love of family will live on in all of them.
He is survived by his companion, Josephine Nigro of Wakefield; daughter Laurie Spagnuolo of Gilford, NH; daughter Dee Spagnuolo and daughter-in-law Sasha Ballen of Wynnewood, PA; former wife, Linda Spagnuolo of Laconia, NH; his nephew, Carmen Spagnuolo, who was like a son, and Carmen's wife, Laurie Spagnuolo of Wakefield; his siblings Chiara Spagnuolo, Michelina Spagnuolo, and Maria Grazia of Avellino, Italy; as well as a large extended family of adoring nieces and nephews in the U.S. and Italy. He also is survived by the joys of his life, his grandchildren Gabrielle, Elio, Marina, Beau, and Dominic, as well as his great-granddaughter, Ensley, who loved their "Papa" with all their hearts. Philip was doubly fortunate as a grandfather to also include a beautiful extended family that Josephine brought into his world, including Maryann Nigro Moccia, Giovanni and Raffaela Parrinello, and their loving children and grandchildren, all of whom made Philip a "Papa Nonno" eleven times over again.
Philip was predeceased by his parents, Carmine Spagnuolo and Romilda Tuccia, and his brothers, Marino Spagnuolo and Domenico Spagnuolo all formerly of Avellino, Italy, and recently by his son, Philip Spagnuolo, Jr. He now joins them in peace.
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Florence Church, 47 Butler Ave., in Wakefield on Saturday, November 27th at 10am. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the church prior to the Mass starting at 9am.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 3 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.