Obituaries 05-24-2012

Roberta Copeman

Past President of Winthrop Emblem Club; Retired Secretary for Brooks Dental PC

Roberta B. Copeman of Winthrop died at the Whidden Hospital in Everett on May 20. She was 79 years old.

A member and Past President of the Winthrop Emblem Club #15, prior to her retirement she worked as secretary for Brooks Dental PC in Winthrop.

She was the beloved wife of John W. Copeman;  devoted mother of Stacey P. Sabbag and her husband, Albert of Middleton. Born in Boston, the cherished daughter of the late John O’Sullivan and Grace M. (Solari), she was the dear sister-in-law of Nancy Johnson of Winthrop and is also fondly remembered by her loving dog, Harry. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home, Winthrop. Burial was in Winthrop Cemetery (Belle Isle Section). For guestbook, go to

Sophie Brunette

Revere Resident

Sophie (Bonavita) Brunette of Revere died on May 19.

She was the beloved wife of the late B. William Brunette; loving mother of Susan Brazil and her husband, John of Winthrop, Beverly Brunette of Revere and the late Gary Brunette; cherished grandmother of Shannon Brazil Carcia and her husband, Anthony, Erin Brazil and her partner, Paul Campbell, Richard Brazil and his wife, Narchia and Brendan Brazil and his wife, Elizabeth; great-grandmother of Andre, Amber, and Tajah Thomas; Gabriel Campell; Casie, Brendan and Harley Brazil; Daisy,  Zoe, Teo and Desmond Carcia; dear sister of the late Carmella (Millie) Mulawka, Nicholas, Carmen, Anthony “Butch” and Thomas Bonavita and is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

A Prayer Service will be held in the Rapino Memorial Home, 9 Chelsea St. (Maverick Sq.) East Boston on Saturday at 10 a.m.  The family will receive visitors on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.  Services will conclude with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden.  In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to: The Home For Little Wanderers, Development Department, 271 Huntington Ave., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02115.  For online condolences and/or directions, please visit

Rita Leach


Rita M. (O’Reilly) Leach passed away peacefully at her home in Winthrop on May 8 at the age of 92.

Born in East Boston, Mrs. Leach was raised in Revere and lived most of her life there. She graduated from Revere High School with Honors in 1938. After graduation, her career path took her from working in the Charlestown Navy Yard during World War II to becoming the Head Hostess at the prestigious Thompson’s Spa in Boston. Mrs. Leach began playing piano at the age of four and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. She continued to play the piano until her death and has been featured on Youtube. She was active in the Revere Lodge of Elks Ladies Emblem Club where her husband, Edward B. Leach, was aecretary. After her husband passed away, she played piano at social and political events while she raised her family.

Mrs. Leach was a campaign organizer for Endicott “Chub” Peabody in the 1960’s and helped lead a group which worked to keep Pebble “Rocky” Beach in Beachmont open to local residents.

Mrs. Leach was the widow of the late Revere Police Sergeant Edward B. Leach. She was the mother of the late Attorney Edward J. Leach, who was also a Sergeant on the Revere Police Department; Kevin and Daniel Leach; Katherine “Cindy” Leach and Candace “Candy” Pioppi and her beloved son-in-law, Frank. She was the devoted grandmother of Jason Leach, Edward G. Leach and Justin and James Pioppi; the daughter of Denis and Teresa (Rothwell) O’Reilly and the sister of the late Dr. Denis O’Reilly; Charles O’Reilly and Eileen Gibbon. She was also the cherished aunt of Paul and Linda O’Reilly; Denise and Owen Hurley; Michael O’Reilly; Faith O’Reilly and Sandra Freeman and Gerard and Pat Gibbon.

After a Christian funeral mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Mrs. Leach was laid to rest at Puritan Lawn Cemetery. Memorial remembrances may be made to the Pulmonary Rehab Program at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 170 Governors Ave., Medford, MA 02155, in care of Mary Margaret Winter, RN, Program Director. Mrs. Leach attended classes there for a decade and was an inspiration to both patients and staff.

Norma Facella

Of Melrose, formerly of Winthrop

Norma M. (Killam) Facella of Melrose, formerly of Wakefield and Winthrop, died at her late residence on May 20 after a long illness. She was 92 years old. Born in Wakefield, the daughter of the late Edith (Colougman) and Leonard A. Killam, she was a longtime resident of Winthrop prior to moving to Wakefield and Melrose.

She was the beloved wife for 60 years of Paul F. Facella and is survived by a sister-in-law, Frances Daly and by nieces and nephews.

Private visitation, service and burial were held on Tuesday with arrangements by the Ernest P. Caggiano & Son – O’Maley Funeral Home, Winthrop. To sign her online guest book of condolences go to

Alfred Safrine

Retired Winthrop DPW Employee and Pleasant Park Yacht Club member

Alfred E. Safrine of Salisbury and Winthrop died at the Anna Jaques Hospital on May 17. He was 84 years old.

He was a member of the Pleasant Park Yacht Club and, prior to his retirement, he was a long time employee of the Winthrop Department of Public Works.

He was the beloved husband of Isabel A. (Trainor) (Hannaford) Safrine and the late Eleanor (Doherty) Safrine; born in Boston, he was the son of the late George J. and Florence E. (Marmaud) Safrine; devoted father of Cheryl Nesom and her husband, Richard of New Hampshire, Diana Bacigalupo and her husband, James and Patricia Federico and her husband, Michael, all of Winthrop, Alfred Safrine and his wife, Pamela of Weymouth, Christopher Safrine and Katherine Potenza of Winthrop, Margaret Morriss and her husband, Edward of Peabody, Charlene Hannaford and Nancy Santaguida of Boxford, and Donna Staszko of Mississippi; dear brother of Constance Maida of Wareham, Margaret MacDonald of New Hampshire, George Safrine of Maine and the late Florence Dalton. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements were by the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home, Winthrop. Burial was in Winthrop Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation 811 West Evergreen Ave. Ste. 204, Chicago, IL, 60642 or For guestbook, go to

Donald Diaz

Of Revere, formerly of East Boston

Donald V. Diaz of Revere, formerly of East Boston, died on May 19.

A Massachusetts National Guard veteran, he was the beloved husband of Angela (Braccia) Diaz with whom he shared 53 years of marriage; loving father of Donald Diaz Jr. and his wife, Barbara, Steven Diaz and Joanne Fiore and her husband, Jim, all of Revere; dear brother of Richard Diaz and Dennis Diaz, both of Revere and Anne Brangiforte and Lorraine Chabuz, both of East Boston. Funeral arrangements were by Vazza’s “Beechwood” Funeral Home, Revere. Burial was in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. For guest book,

Joseph ‘Pee Wee’ Saponaro

Of Winthrop, formerly of East Boston

Joseph A. “Pee Wee” Saponaro of Winthrop, formerly of East Boston, died on May 17.

An intercollegiate Billiards Champion and a U.S. Army veteran, he was the loving father of Joseph A. Saponaro III, of New York; cherished son of the late Joseph A. Sr. and Evelyn C. (Cabral) Saponaro; dear brother of Ronald Saponaro and his wife, Donna of Plymouth, Marie Spagnolo and her husband, Charles of Saugus, Geraldine LaCorte of Medford and brother-in-law of John LaCorte of East Boston. He was the former husband of Joan (Kunigenas) Saponaro of Amesbury.

Funeral arrangements were by Vazza’s “Beechwood” Funeral Home, Revere. For guest book:

Grace Flynn

Member of Winthrop Catholic Women’s Club and Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Grace M. Flynn of Winthrop died May 16 at the Glen Ridge Nursing Center. She was 93 years old.

Born in Boston, the dear daughter of the late Ethel B. (Rowland) and Thomas F. Flynn, she was a graduate of East Boston High School and Boston Clerical School. Prior to her retirement, she was employed at the Trinity Neighborhood House. She was a member of the Winthrop Catholic Women’s Club and a longtime devoted member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

She was the beloved sister of the late Thomas F. Flynn, Rowland P. Flynn, Mary M. Meadows, Ethel F. Hodgkins and William E. Flynn and is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Funeral arrangements were by the Ernest P. Caggiano & Son – O’Maley Funeral Home, Winthrop. Burial was in Winthrop Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Building Fund of St. John the Evangelist Church, 320 Winthrop St., Winthrop, MA 02152. For online guest book go to

Mario Parlante

Of Revere, formerly of the North End

Mario Parlante of Revere, formerly of the North End of Boston, died on May 14.

He was the loving father of Carmela Julianello of Medford, Donna DelViscovo of Winthrop, Elean Sanfilippo of Throop, PA and the late Frank Parlante; beloved grandfather of 10, great grandfather of six and longtime companion of Gloria Carregal of Malden. He is also survived by a sister in New York and by many nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements were by the Bisbee-Porcella Funeral Home, Saugus. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. For condolences,

Paul Connolly

Retired Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney

Paul F. Connolly of Winthrop died on May 21.

Mr. Connolly, who served in the US Marine Corps, was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of UMassBoston and received his law degree from Suffolk University. Prior to his retirement, he was employed by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office as an Assistant DA.

He was the beloved husband of Carol A. (Hurst) Connolly; devoted father of Colleen M. Connolly of South Boston, Sean P. Connolly and his wife, Jill of Waxhaw, NC and Brian G. Connolly and his wife, Wendy of Pleasanton, CA; adored grandfather of Desiree and Jordan St. Cyr, Eleanor Grace Connolly and Brendan, Brady and Brett Connolly; dear brother of Theresa Menzler of South Boston, John J. Connolly and his wife, Marie of Chatham, Barbara Lundbohm of Wollaston and the late Patrick Connolly, James Connolly and Doris Turner.; brother-in-law of Bridie Connolly of Dedham and is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours will be held in the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home, 210 Winthrop St., Winthrop on Thursday, May 31 between 4 and 8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held in St. John’s Episcopal Church, 222 Bowdoin St., Winthrop on Friday, June 1 at 11 a.m. Please go directly to church. Cremation will be private. For guestbook and directions, go to

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