Obituaries 09-29-2022

William T. “Bill” Griffiths Sr.

Retired Brookline DPW Commissioner

William T. “Bill” Griffiths Sr. of Winthrop passed away on September 20. He was 95 years old.

Bill was the longtime companion of Carol Loomis of Winthrop and the late husband of Therese A. (McGagh) Griffiths. Born in Winthrop, he was the cherished son of the late Copley E. and Blanche (Burroughs) Griffiths.

Bill was a WWII Veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy as a navigator for a PBM seaplane from 1944 to 1946. Prior to his retirement, he was the Commissioner of Public Works for the Town of Brookline. Bill was a member of the Winthrop Yacht Club, the ASCE/BSCE, the Massachusetts Highway Assn. and he served for many years on the Brookline Credit Union Board of Directors.

He was the devoted father of William T. “Bill” Griffiths Jr. and his wife, Peggy, Gail A. Covelle and her husband, Fred and Joe J. Griffiths and his wife, Susan, all of Winthrop and Sue M. Donahue and her husband, Neil of Tewksbury; the adored grandfather of Jennifer Dykens, Michael Griffiths, Samantha Covelle, Greg Covelle, Alexandra Rhoads, Matthew Donahue, Brian Donahue, Jeffrey Donahue, Jordan Griffiths, Jonathan Griffiths, Kelsie Griffiths and Kirsten Griffiths and the loving great-grandfather of Jackson and  Camden Dykens, Olivia Donahue and Corey Covelle and the dear brother of Judy  MacLaughlin of Boxford and the late Thelma Hazelton.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday, September 26 in St. Michael the Archangel Parish-Winthrop followed by interment in Winthrop Cemetery (Belle Isle Section).

Donations can be made to New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, 17 Court St. #2601, Boston, MA 02108 or to a charity of your choice. 

Funeral arrangements were from the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home, 210 Winthrop St., Winthrop. For guestbook, please visit:

David O’Brien Jr.

Past Commodore of the Cottage Park Yacht Club Commodore, Past Grand Knight of Winthrop K of C and Life Member of Winthrop Elks

David L. O’Brien Jr. of Winthrop passed away, surrounded by his loving family, on September 22. He was 79 years old.

The beloved husband of 54 years to Paulette A. (Sirois) O’Brien, he was born in Winthrop, the cherished son of the late Margaret (Hynes) and David L. O’Brien Sr.

David graduated from Winthrop High School, Class of 1961. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 to 1966. David worked at Verizon for 42 years and retired as a manager.

David was a life member and past Commodore of the Cottage Park Yacht Club, past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus-Winthrop Council #162 and a life member of the Winthrop Lodge of Elks #1078. He enjoyed boating throughout his life and his many vacations in Aruba and Maine.

David was the devoted father of the late David L. O’Brien III and his surviving children: Christopher J. O’Brien and his wife, Kristen of Reading, Matthew P. O’Brien and his wife, Lisa of Topsfield, Paul M. O’Brien and his wife, Elizabeth of Winthrop, Meghan E.  Verdaguer and her husband, Alejandro of Winthrop and Mark A. O’Brien and his wife, Allison of Braintree; the beloved “Grampy” to Maeve and Mary-Kate O’Brien, Devin, Kaleigh, Shauna and Colin O’Brien, Brendan and Jack O’Brien, Tomás,  Sean, Aidan and Julián Verdaguer and Maxwell O’Brien. He was the dear brother of  Mary O’Brien of Winthrop, Frank O’Brien and his wife, Lorraine of Mashpee and the late Alice Helm and her surviving husband, John and he also leaves many nieces and nephews.

His Funeral will be from the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home. 210 Winthrop St., Winthrop on Saturday, October 1 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Michael’s Parish, 320 Winthrop St., Winthrop at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited. Interment will  be in Winthrop Cemetery (Belle Isle Section). Visiting hours will be on Friday, September 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Assn. 309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA. 02452 or to a charity of your choice.

For guestbook, please visit:   

Sebastian “Benny” Zappulla

He Will Be Missed by All Who Knew and Loved Him

Sebastian “Benny” Zappulla, formerly of Winthrop and East Boston, the husband of the late Yolanda Zappulla, passed away Tuesday, September 27 from Dementia at 93 years of age. He was the father of a loving son, James of Middleboro and his wife, Margaret and grandfather to his pride and joys, Catherine and Alice. 

Benny served in Guam as a US Marine in WWII as a runner. After returning home, he met the love of his life, Yolanda and they married in 1950.

He enjoyed music and had his own orchestra in the 1950’s. He played guitar, organ and his all time favorite instrument, the saxophone, until he wasn’t able to play anymore. He attended Berklee School of Music and later taught guitar to children as a side job. 

He worked as a presser at Picarello and Singer and, upon leaving, he went to work for the Federal Government as a printer until his retirement in 1990. He did painting and wallpapering as a side job when James was growing up. Benny loved cars and took pride in his car and even at 93, he was still outside tending to his car. He passed that love of cars on to his son and granddaughters.

Two of his son’s favorite memories were going to the slot cars races with his dad and spending the day racing his slot cars.

He would help his son set his trains up in the living room and they would play with them for weeks until they were told to take them down so they could have the living room back again.

In addition to his son and his family, Benny is survived by his loving sister-in-law, Mary Zappulla of Winthrop, brother-in-law, Joseph DiMartino of Revere, several nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Vincenzo and Rose Zappulla and his brother, Salvatore Zappulla. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. 

Family and friends will honor Benny’s life by gathering at the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home, 971 Saratoga Street, (Orient Heights) East Boston, on Friday, September 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. before leaving in procession to Saint John’s Church, Winthrop for a Funeral Mass celebrating Benny’s life at 11:30 a.m. Services will conclude with Benny being laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. May he rest in peace. 

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452 for research for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

To leave an online condolence, please visit

Sheila Brass

Her Optimism Was One of Her Most Endearing and Valuable Attributes

Sheila Brass, a Winthrop native, who was personal assistant to the vice president for national programming and was featured in Boston, Inspirational Women by Bill and Kerry Brett, passed away on September 7.

She was named a Cambridge Food Hero for her work on educating people about the history of home cooks and home bakers.

For 11 years, she was the North American Consultant for Miller’s Publications, in London, which produced a series of Antiques and Collectibles Price Guides.

One of Sheila’s most endearing and valuable attributes was her optimism.  No matter how bad things were, Sheila would say “Everything is going to be all right.”

Sheila is survived by her sister, Marilynn, her Honorary Sister, Danese Carey and a large and loving extended family.

Although Sheila never had children of her own, she always felt that one of her missions was to take care of other people’s children and to make sure that people were fed.

A Memorial Gathering will be held in the spring. Anyone wishing to make a contribution in her honor, may make it to Food For Free, which brings food to students, seniors and others most at risk of hunger at to a charity of his or her choice.

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