Obituaries 12-31-2015

Christopher Rudolph Zarba, Sr.

Gifted composer, pianist and music educator; first conductor of the Boston Ballet Orchestra; accomplished portrait and landscape painter;

lost son on 9/11

Christopher Rudolph Zarba, Sr. of Winthrop,  previously of Medford and East Boston, passed away peacefully at home on December 21 at age 92 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in East Boston to Giuseppe “Joseph” Alfonso Zarba and Elvira Battaglia Zarba, Mr. Zarba was a graduate of the New England Conservatory, where he received bachelors and masters degrees in music composition in the early 1950s. He also completed graduate work in art history at Boston University in the late 1950s.
A gifted composer and pianist, as well as a talented and devoted music educator, Maestro Zarba was the first conductor of the Boston Ballet orchestra. In 1954, he conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra in the premiere of one of his compositions, a symphony entitled Palm Sunday. His other works include Sinfonia de Camera, Ballade for Orchestra, Trojan Women, and Symphonies I, II, III and IV. His compositions have been performed by orchestras in the United States and Europe.
A sought-after bandleader for such prominent performers as Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Vic Damone, Sergio Franchi, and Al Martino, Mr. Zarba served for five years as music director of the Ice Capades at Boston Garden. With his brother, Franklin Zarba, singer and bassist, he performed regularly at venues throughout the Boston area, and was well-known for his mastery of a wide range of music styles and genres.
As a music teacher in the Watertown schools for nearly thirty years, spanning the late 1950s to the mid-80s, Mr. Zarba was beloved and admired by countless former students. In 2004, he received the Italian American Lifetime Achievement Award from the local organization Italia Unita for his many contributions to music. He was also an accomplished and prolific portrait and landscape painter.
An Army Sergeant in World War II stationed in England and Italy, Mr. Zarba served with the 296th Combat Engineers unit in Normandy after D-Day.
Mr. Zarba was pre-deceased by his devoted wife of 49 years, Catherine “Kitty” De Angelis Zarba, and his loving son, Christopher R. Zarba, Jr., who was killed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
Mr. Zarba will be remembered with great love and affection by many extended family members, including his son Joseph Zarba (Helen), brothers Joseph Zarba (Tessie) and Franklin Zarba (Jeanne), sister Rina Zarba, and grandchildren Chris, Laura, and Charlotte Zarba.

The funeral was conducted from the Ernest P. Caggiano and Son-O’Maley Funeral Home, Winthrop on Monday, December 28 followed by a Funeral Mass in the Most Holy Redeemer Church, East Boston. Services concluded with the interment in the St. Michael’s Cemetery, Boston.

To sign the online guestbook go to

Mary Lou Raffaele

Retired chemist for W.R. Grace

Mary Lou Raffaele of Seal Harbor Road, Winthrop passed away at the Devereux House in Marblehead on December 25. She was 74 years old.

Born in Boston, the beloved daughter of the late Anna (Barry) and John Jackson, she was a resident of Sherborn for many years and has resided in Winthrop for the past 18 years. She was a graduate of Villa Marie Academy in Malvern, Pennsylvania and went on to become a chemist, working for W.R. Grace for many years.

She was the devoted wife of the late Joseph A. Raffaele and the loving mother of Jane E. Krause and her husband, Steven of Indiana, Stephen J. Raffaele and his companion, Martha of Salem and David A. Raffaele and his wife, Kelly of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; the dear sister of Michelle Hayes of Winthrop and Jacqueline Bleakley of Buzzards Bay. She was also the cherished grandmother of Hallie, Sadie and Emilia.

Her funeral was conducted from the Ernest P. Caggiano and Son-O’Maley Funeral Home on December 29 followed by a Funeral Mass in St. John the Evangelist Church. Interment followed the Mass in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Sherborn

Joyce Bruno

Retired hairdresser

Joyce N. (Iannacone) Bruno of Winthrop passed away at home on December 22. She was 73 years old.

A retired hairdresser, she was the beloved wife of William G. Bruno of Winthrop, formerly of the North End.

Born in Somerville, she was the cherished daughter of the late Carmen and Josephine (Petralia) Iannacone; devoted mother of Robin M. Bruno of Winthrop and Nicole Lapiana and her husband, Christopher of Stoneham; adored “Nana” of Nicolas Luca Lapiana and Sofia Joy Lapiana of Stoneham; dear sister of Virginia Shanahan of Melrose and Mari Lanzilli of East Boston. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

A visiting hour will be held today, Thursday,  December 31 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home, 210 Winthrop St., Winthrop  followed by a Funeral Mass in St. John the Evangelist Church, Winthrop at 11:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited. Interment will follow the Mass in Winthrop Cemetery (Belle Isle Section). In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Pl. Memphis, TN. 38105 or to the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, 540 Gallivan Blvd. #200, Boston, MA. 02124. For guestbook, please visit

Stephanie MacNeil

Happiest working in her garden, walking on the beach and being with her cats

Stephanie L. (Evans) MacNeil,  born and raised in Winthrop, passed away at home on November 24. She was 91 years old.

She married World War II Army Veteran Edmund L. “Duke” MacNeil Jr. when she was 19 and they were stationed in Germany and Europe. Duke predeceased her in 2010. She was the daughter of the late Thomas G. and Eleanor (Grundy) Evans; devoted mother of Ellen V. MacNeil and her partner, Beckett Gann of Winthrop and the late Edmund L. MacNeil III, who was killed in Vietnam in 1971 and the adored grandmother of Sarah V. Campbell of Winthrop.

Stephanie attended Winthrop High School where her favorite teacher was Edward Rowe Snow. She worked at the front desk at the Winthrop Arms Hotel in her 20s and was a well-known salesperson for Rand’s Jewelers in Winthrop for many years. She was a lifelong member of St John’s Episcopal Church in Winthrop. Stephanie was happiest working in her garden, walking on the beach and being with her cats.

At the family’s request, funeral arrangements will be private. Donations in her name can be made to Winthrop’s Support the Troops Project c/o Honan Sign Company, 66 Crest Ave., Winthrop, MA 02152. You may also call 617-846-5972. Items can be dropped off at the Honan Sign Co. Monetary donations are also accepted made out to “American Legion Post 146” or for postage to “Postmaster Boston.” Funeral arrangements were from the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home 210 Winthrop St. Winthrop. For guestbook, please visit

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