Penny Schafer, Economist and Civic Leader, Dies at 76

Photo: Penny Schafer (family photo)

Penelope “Penny” Schafer, a well-respected environmental economist who lived most of her life on Lewis Road, was known by her family and friends for being “generous almost to a fault,” willingly providing her time and energy to the service of her church, community and civic groups in her hometown of Belmont.

Schafer – who always went by Penny – died on Aug. 26, 2020 in Portland, Me. She was 76. The cause was a stroke suffered at her vacation home in Jefferson, Me.

“She leaves behind a legacy of making the world a better place at both the national and local level,” remembered one of her clients who she worked with at Cambridge-based Abt Associates.

Schafer’s colleagues at Abt recalled her as an amazing mentor, smart, funny, and, most of all, wise. She had an amazing capacity for kindness, while pushing her colleagues to be better than they knew they could.

Schafer was nationally known for her work on the dangers of lead paint and their abatement, working principally with the US Environmental Protection Agency. She conducted risk assessments of the environmental impacts of lead and other pollutants such as mercury and asbestos on the environment, and performed impact and cost-benefit analyses of proposed environmental regulations. She also developed an early Web-based lead database which provided organizations and families with access to data on childhood lead poisoning and facilitated interdisciplinary collaboration in the effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

Although she never sought the spotlight, Schafer was dedicated to her community and invested great time and energy in making it a better place for all. She served as an elected Town Meeting Member for 38 years. In addition, she was on the town’s Warrant Committee, which oversees the town budget, including chairing the committee for a period. She also played a vital role on Belmont’s Senior Center Building Committee and the Council on Aging including being its president. 

Schafer was also a dedicated member and officer of the Belmont League of Women Voters, most recently serving on its board and as its treasurer. She also devoted serious time to the First Church in Belmont, serving in various roles since joining around 1978, including most recently on the Parish Board and a just completed six-year tenure as its treasurer. She was an active long-term member of her Radcliffe College Class Reunion Committee.

Schafer was born on April 10, 1944 and grew up in LaGrange, Ill. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1966 and earned a doctorate in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economics from Harvard University in 1976. 

While in graduate school she fell in love with Robert Schafer, and they were happily married for 50 years, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on Aug. 23, three days before she died.

Schafer is survived by her husband, a son, Karl, and two brothers, Gale and Brad, and their families.

The family is establishing a Penny Schafer Memorial Fund at the First Church in Belmont, 404 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478, to which contributions can be made in lieu of flowers or other gifts. A memorial service will be held once the Covid-19 virus subsides and in person gatherings are again possible.

Obituary: Henry Kazarian, A True Townie Who Traveled The World

Photo: Henry Kazarian

Henry V. Kazarian, a lifelong Belmont resident who became a happy hodophile – the word for those who love to travel – died on Wednesday at Care One Lexington. He was 85.

He died of cancer, according to Donna Gasper, who was Kazarian’s tenant for 38 years, a long-time friend and for the final year of his life his caregiver.

“He was a townie through and through,” said Gasper. “He loved this town.”

For voters who cast their ballots at Town Hall, Kazarian was an election day fixture. The Precinct 2 election warden for many years, Kazarian would greet and assist voters, patiently instructing them on the proper procedure of placing a ballot into the scanner and calling the polls closed at 8 p.m.

“For the Town Clerk’s office, Henry did so much for us and was a dedicated and enthusiastic Election Warden at Precinct 2 and Town Meeting Member of Precinct 4 who consistently represented the Waverley Square area very well,” said Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

Born in 1935 to Natalie and Hampartzoom Kazarian, Henry, his parents and his older brother, Vartkess, moved a year later to a two-family on Banks Street (off of White Street) which, with the exception of a few years, would be his home for his entire life.

Kazarian attended the Kendall Elementary School and Belmont Middle School before graduating from Belmont High in 1952. He matriculated at Northeastern University where he earned a BA in history and government with a concentration in English. After graduation, Kazarian enlisted in the US Army and was honorably discharged a year later.

For the next four decades, Kazarian worked for the town of Belmont as a custodian at the Town Hall complex and Police Headquarters.

Kazarian was a Town Meeting member for 28 years, a board member of the Council on Aging and a volunteer at Habitat. He was also devoted to the Beech Street Center, which he promoted to his friends and community during, at times, the contentious debate whether to build it.

After his retirement, Kazarian spent many years as a member of “The Situation Room” made up of old buddies who would steal away the mornings (and sometimes, the afternoons) at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Trapelo Road. Considered the group’s historian and “book of knowledge,” Kazarian told an observer “Whatever is in season is in style here.”

His interests were varied and extensive: softball umpire, following local and high school sports, reading poetry (he had more than 150 volumes) and attending plays by the Belmont Dramatic Club.

“He said ‘I like the Encyclopedia Britannica delivered to my house. I want to learn it from a book’,” said Gasper.

But Kazarian’s true hobby was to set sail with two or three longtime friends and explore the world: Portugal, Spain, Paris, the French Riviera, five times to Mexico (always on the beach) and Hawaii were just a few of the destinations. And it wasn’t just traveling to far flung places: each year he’d drive to Pennsylvania to attend a beer festival before swinging by Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“He would get a fruitcake and take two or three of his boyhood friends up to Montreal for a ‘visit’. He was a character,” said Gasper.

Kazarian began to slow down five years ago, unable to make his daily walk to Harvard Square for a coffee and to read the paper; he’d need to take the bus halfway. After feeling poorly for the past two years, Kazarian was diagnosed in late October with a growth in his stomach that could not be halted.

“Henry faced his last challenge much as he lived his life, courageously with a kind and generous spirit,” said Gasper. “He was a wonderful friend to all and a true gentle soul.”

He is predeceased by his immediate family. Funeral services and church services will be private due to restrictions placed on gatherings A celebration to honor and remember Kazarian will be held at a later date.

Those wishing to honor Henry with a memorial donation in his name may do so by check payable to the Town of Belmont designated for his beloved Beech Street Center, said Kazarian

Obituary: Clayton Christensen, The Disruptive Guru, Dies At 67

Photo: Clay Christensen

Clayton Christensen, long-time Fletcher Road resident and Kim. B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School who wrote the pioneering book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” died last Thursday, Jan. 23 in a Boston hospital.

Christensen, who had been in poor health for more than a decade, died of complications of leukemia, according to Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School. He was 67.

“Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received over the past few days,” the family said in a statement. “We are humbled by how many lives he has touched. Clayton felt his life would be measured by the individuals he helped and the ways in which he could serve those around him.”

Read Christensen’s obituaries here:

A towering figure in business and life (he stood 6′ 8″), Christensen is known for his 1997 book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” which “The Economist” magazine called “one of the six most important business books ever written.”

The book demonstrates how successful companies can do everything “right” and still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. The book hit a chord with many young innovators and took off after the CEO of Intel Andy Grove told an industry conference that “The Innovator’s Dilemma” was “the most important book I had read in 10 years.”

Christensen was born in Salt Lake City and graduated from Brigham Young University after serving two years as a missionary in Korea. After marrying his wife, Christine, he attended Harvard Business School graduating with an MBA in 1979. He joined Boston Consulting Group and later founded a company with several MIT professors.

Just after joining the ranks of academia as a professor at his alma mater Harvard Business, the Christensens bought their house in 1994 on Belmont Hill, expanding the structure 10 years later.

He also dabbled in local matters when in 2012, Christensen promoted the use of internet learning for Belmont High School students in an effort to flatten the expense curve of Belmont’s education costs. 

A person of strong faith, Christensen was active in his local LDS ward, serving as a bishop and as a past member of Area Seventy, Sixth Quorum. After he suffered a devastating stroke, Christensen wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review called “How Will You Measure Your Life?” which became a book on how to achieve a fulfilling life.

Christensen is survived by his wife, Christine, and their children, Matthew, Michael, Spencer, Ann and Catherine Christensen; and nine grandchildren.

Visitations will be held:

  • Friday, Jan. 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 15 Ledgewood Pl. in Belmont
  • Saturday, Feb from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 65 Binney St., in Kendell Square, Cambridge

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 65 Binney St, Cambridge.

Obituary: Trevor O’Rourke, 25, Determined To Belong In This World

Photo: Trevor Jamil O’Rourke

Services will be held this weekend for Belmont resident Trevor Jamil O’Rourke who died on Friday, Dec. 7, 2019. O’Rourke, who battled polysubstance abuse for many years, was 25.

Visiting hours will take place in the Brown & Hickey Funeral Home, 36 Trapelo Rd., Belmont on Friday, Dec. 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A celebration of Trevor will be held at Story Chapel in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt Auburn St., Cambridge on Saturday Dec. 14, 2019 at 1 p.m. Relatives and friends invited.

Trevor attended Belmont Public Schools, Landmark High School, and graduated from Clearway High School. He continued his studies at Westfield State University. 

Born five weeks premature on April 7, 1994, in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, O’Rourke “came into this world fighting and despite his difficult entry, he was determined to belong in this world,” read a statement from his family.

“Over the past 25 years, Trevor and his family left no stone unturned to find the best fit to meet his educational and emotional needs. Throughout his young life he worked hard in therapy and utilized many special education programs to build the skills needed to overcome his disabilities, and emotional hardships which too often included a sense that he didn’t belong in this world. Despite all his struggles and ups and downs, he had many successes and many moments where he felt he did belong.”

“So many people could see his passion, commitment and perseverance particularly when he took on a new challenge such as the way he spent hours perfecting the treflip skateboard trick, or the vigor and energy he put into his newly found hobby of rock-climbing. These were activities that helped keep his mind focused, his body healthy, and deadly substances at bay.”

“Trevor is not defined by the illness of addiction that took his young life but rather by the strength, fortitude, and courage he put forth to overcome his disabilities and mental health struggles,” said his family.

O’Rourke is survived by his parents James and Laura, sister Dana, brother Brady, soulmate and partner Keri Beucler, maternal grandparents Walid and Carol Pharaon, aunts and uncles Madeline, Jackie, Jane, Edward, Basem and many cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Trevor can be made to Learn to Cope, a support network for families coping with addiction: 4 Court St. Ste 110 Taunton, MA 02780 learn2cope.org/donate-3 or Foundation for Belmont Education, PO Box 518, Belmont, MA 02478 or FBE-Belmont.org/Giving

Obituary: Joseph Scali, Lifelong Resident And Veteran

Photo: Joe Scali from a video created by the Belmont Media Center.

On any election day for the past decade, you would find Joe Scali at the Beech Street Center enjoying the day with his wife, Maryann, as both were officiating at the polls. Whether it was early in the morning or just before the close, Scali would be there to keep company with voters and friends, always with a remembrance of his life living in Belmont and with Maryann.

It will be that less enjoyable entering the polling station in the future.

Joseph A. Scali, a lifelong resident who was involved in town government and youth sports, died on Thursday. He was 85. The cause was not given.

Born in Belmont on July 16, 1933, Scali graduated from Belmont High School in 1950 then enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951, serving in the Korean War. You can watch Scali describe is service to the country on video from the Belmont Media Center.

After returning from his tour of duty in 1955, Scali began his career working in the missile systems division of Raytheon, employed at the defense contractor for 38 years. Shortly after graduating from Boston College in 1960, Scali married Belmont resident Maryann Cogliani. The Scalis raised their three children on Prospect Street since 1965.

Scali was a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 2 since 1996. He demonstrated his interest in supporting vocational education for Belmont students with his involvement with the Minuteman Regional Vocational High School as Belmont’s appointed member to the Minuteman School Committee from 2007 to 2010 and being on the Minuteman Study Committee from 2009 to 2013. 

Scali coached youth basketball, hockey and baseball and was a founder in the mid-1970s of Boston Area Youth Soccer. He was also the treasurer of the Belmont Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Maryann (Cogliani), his children Maryann (and Bruce McCauley) of Westboro, Joseph (and Lisa) of Burlington and Richard (and Tammy) of Sandown, NH; nine grandchildren, Anthony, Kristyn (and husband Peter), Nicholas, David, Mark, Joseph, Sydney, Rebecca, Katie and great-granddaughter Adriana.

Visiting Hours will be held at St. Camillus Church, 1185 Concord Turnpike (Rt .2), Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5 p.m. to  8 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Feb. 8 at St. Camillus Church at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Highland Meadow Cemetery on Concord Avenue in Belmont.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Benefits Program, Emerson Health Care Foundation, 133 O.R.N.A.C, Concord, MA 01742 or Friends of COA, 266 Beech St., Belmont, MA 02478.

Obituary: Ernie S. D’Agnelli, A Recreation Department Fixture Who Lived For Belmont

Photo: Ernie S. D’Agnelli.

If you or your children spent any time participating in an activity run by Belmont Recreation, you would have come across the big personality of “Ernie D.” For nearly a half-century, Ernie D’Agnelli was a driving force at the Recreation Division, from running it’s summer programs, maintaining the resemblance of order at the Field House to volunteering to cook the BBQ at the opening of the pool season.

“Ernie loved Belmont. He grew up here, went to school here, was a star on the sports fields and later became a coach for Belmont Marauder teams. More importantly, he was a mentor and role model to so many young people over the years,” said June Howell, his longtime friend and work colleague.

Ernie S. D’Agnelli, who touched the lives of generations of residents with his kindness and wide smile, died on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. He was 64.

The cause was a heart attack, said Howell at Monday’s Recreation Commission meeting. 

For 41 years, D’Agnelli was a physical education teacher at the Maimonides School in Brookline. Known as Mr. D, he was an almost legendary personality at the private Jewish day school. But his heart was in the “Rec Department,” said Howell, where he had worked since he was a teenager. He started as a park instructor while in high school and later developed and ran the town’s first summer programs. He could be found at the Field House organizing games for adults during the week and supervising kids on Thursday nights at Open Gym. If there was a program that needed someone to run it, D’Agnelli was there to take on the task.

“He lived for Belmont,” said Howell on Monday.

D’Agnelli was raised in town and graduated from Belmont High School in 1972, where he was a Hall of Fame athlete. He matriculated and played football at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, graduating in 1976. He was an avid fan of Natick and Belmont sports, and for many years was an intricate part of several Belmont youth sports programs.

“We have missed his presence here in the office since his retirement but we will never forget his smile, his booming laugh or the impact he had on our lives,” said Howell.

D’Agnelli is survived by his wife Lynne M. D’Agnelli and their children Kristin Talarico and her husband Lucas, Kerrin D’Agnelli and Lindsay D’Agnelli. He was grandfather of Jack, Co, a and Colin Talarico. He was a son of the late Ernest and Angela D’Agnelli, brother of Lisa Kazanovicz and her husband John of Reading and Andrea Vona and her husband Kevin of Belmont. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours will be in the Brown & Hickey Funeral Home 36 Trapelo Rd. in Belmont on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated in St Joseph Church, 128 Common St. on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. The burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to the Maimonides School c/o Development Office, 34 Philbrick Rd. Brookline MA 02445.

Obituary: Brian Rogers, Who Nurtured Belmont’s Sports, Died at 65

Photo: Brian Rogers at the 2018 Brandan Home Run 5K in June.

Brian Rogers, the creative talent who nurtured Belmont sports from road racing to youngsters playing ball, died suddenly after being taken to Mt. Auburn Hospital on Sunday, Sept. 31, 2018.

A School Street resident, Rogers was 65. No cause of death was given.

“Brian was a gifted man, with a graceful intelligence and strong moral compass that came from somewhere deep within his soul,” said Casey Grant, who Rogers volunteered in managing the foundation honoring Grant’s son, Brandan. “His legacy in providing selfless, humble service to our local community and beyond [measure] and timeless.”

“He was a quiet, soft-spoken gentleman who never had a bad word to say about anyone, who loved his family and his town, and who made the town a better place to live,” said Peter Noone, a lifelong resident, and close friend. 

For the past two-and-a-half decades, Rogers was known as the race director of the Brendan’s Home Run 5K, running the Father’s Day event since its inception in January 2002. Rogers was one of Brendan Grant’s youth coaches and immediately after the young man’s death in 2001, “provided leadership to the organization and its annual road race to help ensure Brendan’s memory lived on and helped turn the tragedy of his sudden death into many years of incredibly positive things for the town,” said Noone in an email.

Rogers took the small race and developed and promoted it into an all-out annual community fundraiser and get together where Olympians and rising talent ran alongside Belmont residents whose only exposure to running occurred once a year. He saw the race as more than just an athletic event but as a coming together of the people of Belmont, from those who volunteered, contributed time and prizes to the runners themselves, the vast majority being residents.

“This race works on a lot of levels, and that’s the beauty of it,” all of “which keeps the memory of Brendan alive today,” said Rogers at the 2017 race.

But it was baseball where Rogers’ sports affections lied.

“He loved baseball more than even the most die-hard fans,” noted Noone. “He was like an encyclopedia of baseball and had an unmatched love of the history of the game.” He took that love for the game and channeled it working several decades with Belmont Youth baseball, first as a coach, then director, board member, and trustee.

During his tenure at youth baseball, Rogers ran every aspect of the program, from scheduling, organizing teams, cleaning equipment, and running tryouts, as he steered the program in a way that made the baseball program an outstanding youth program that cared about helping every kid, no matter how talented.

“He devoted his life for many years to the program and the kids of the town. He followed the kids in the news after they graduated from High School and moved on to college baseball. Even after he retired from the Board, he would send in clips from newspapers throughout the country that described the successes of Belmont’s players,” said Noone.

Born in Geneva, NY, Rogers graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Communication Design. Rogers started his career as a graphic designer in Chicago and Boston but moved towards the creative side of design as a new business/creative developer at Foster Design Group in  Natick.

In 2000, Rogers and Jeremy Wirth co-founded Labor Day Creatives of Natick, a design firm that creates annual reports, branding, advertising, direct mail, trade shows, packaging and Web design for its client firms.

“He had many roles that channeled his positive energy into making our world a better place,” said Grant. “We are profoundly heartbroken, and we will dearly miss Brian and all the good that he brought to our world.”

He is survived by his wife, Nancy H. (Hall) Rogers, and their son, Justin A. Rogers, both of Belmont. Rogers is the son of Charles Rogers of Marlborough and the late Mary (Connors) Rogers; brother of Charles Rogers of Norristown Penn., Jay Rogers of Wayland, Jon Rogers of Hopkinton and the late Clare Matthews; and uncle of Mark Matthews, Daphne Remarcke, Christopher, Andrew, Megan, Tia, and Grace Rogers.

Visiting hours will be at the Stanton Funeral Home, 786 Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will begin from the Stanton Funeral Home on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at 9 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Church of St. Luke, 132 Lexington St., Belmont at 10 a.m. Burial will be private.

Instead of flowers, contributions in Brian’s memory would be appreciated to:

  • The Brendan Grant Foundation, P.O. Box 184, Belmont, MA 02478-0184 or
  • the Boston Bulldogs Running Club, P.O. Box 470558, Brookline, MA, 02447-0558

Obituary: William ‘Bill’ Skelley; Former Selectman, ‘A True Belmontian’

Photo: William R. Skelley III (Linkedin)

William R. Skelley III, a born and bred Belmontan who served two terms as a Selectman and was known for the honesty and high integrity he brought to town government, died on April 3, 2018, in hospice care in New Hampshire.

Skelley, 70, died from a reoccurrence of cancer he fought for several years, according to close friends.

“He was a mentor to me, one of the best persons who served on the board,” said Mark Paolillo, who spoke to Skelley a few weeks ago. “He was a true Belmontian who served his hometime in a quiet but efficient way.”

“Skelley had a very passionate love for Belmont,” said Jim Staton, a longtime Belmont town official. 

Skelley grew up on Warwick Road with his brothers and sisters. Skelley’s father, William Skelley, spent 40 years on the Cambridge Fire Department retiring as a Lieutenant firefighter in 1982. His mother, Edna K. (Sullivan) Skelley, was a long-time supporter of a Belmont Senior Center. 

An outstanding athlete and student at Belmont schools, Skelley was senior class president at Belmont High School – he was known as “Mr. Belmont High School” – as well as football co-captain his senior year. He was also a member of Belmont’s Division 2 state championship team the previous year.

After graduating from Belmont, Skelley matriculated at Harvard College, playing football for the Crimson and graduating in  1970. He earned a Master’s in History from Boston College in 1972 and an MBA from Boston University in 1976.

Living on Common Street with his wife, Linda, and children, the 1990s was Skelley’s time in town government first elected to Town Meeting from Precinct 5 in 1990. Due to his business background – he worked for Polaroid for nearly a quarter century in customer service and technical support – he was appointed to the Warrant Committee the next year. He was recruited to run for selectman by then-selectman Walter Flewelling and was elected in 1994 and serving until 2000, the final three years as vice chair.

“While he did have differences with other members of the board, he was always looking to do what was best for Belmont,” said Paolillo. Many highlighted Skelley’s involvement in the first Financial Task Force and his major role on the McLean Hospital land agreement. “He also tried to unite what was at times a contentious board. He could do that because he had no ill will to anyone,” said Paolillo. 

Staton said one area Skelley should be praised was his commitment to equality in all areas, as he reached out to Boston innercity youths.

“He was also quite interested in the town’s kids,” said former Board of Health Chair David Alper, who noted Skelley advocated for a Youth Commission to support Belmont’s younger residents. Nearly everyone said Skelley had a “special spot” for youth sports, volunteering on the fields and in the rinks and supporting every team with his presence.

Skilley founded Skelley Medical Company in 1997 which was headquartered in Cushing Square until he moved the operation to Hollis, NH at the invitation of then-Gov. John Lynch, which ended his involvement in Belmont government and saw him uproot to New Hampshire. The firm was praised by President Obama and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and was recognized as the Exporter of the Year for both New Hampshire and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2012.

The company, whose mission was “the reduction of global healthcare costs by providing affordable comprehensive medical equipment solutions,” filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2015, a year after a federal lawsuit was filed against it by a Panama-based investment firm.

With his business closed, Skelley began reconnecting with his hometown, having converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He attended the 50th anniversary of the Marauders championship football team and became a leader in the Veterans Memorial Committee which is seeking to build a new memorial at Clay Pit Pond.

“Bill got involved with the memorial committee not because he was a veteran; he wanted those who did serve to be recognized for what they did for the town and country,” said former Selectman Angelo Firenze, the committee’s president.

His wife, the former Linda Phelps, died a year ago in May just as the couple returned to Belmont. The couple raised their three children, William, Christopher and Maryelizabeth (Fiengo), in Belmont. He was the brother of Barbara Skelley of Belmont, Cathleen Mullins and her husband Kevin of Waltham and the late Ann Marie Carey and Mary Elizabeth Skelley.

Visting hours will be at Stanton Funeral Home, 786 Mt. Auburn St., in Watertown on Friday, April 6 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A celebration of the Funeral Mass will be held in the Church of St. Luke, 132 Lexington St. on Saturday, April 7 at 9 a.m. Burial will take place at Highland Meadows Cemetery in Belmont.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Community Hospice House, 210 Naticook Rd, Merrimack, NH 03054 would be appreciated.

Correction: Mr. Skelley’s name was incorrectly written the headline. We regret the error.

Obituary: Jason Georgitis, Star Lawyer, Beloved Husband, Father, Dies at 42

Photo: Jason Georgitis (Credit: Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

Jason Georgitis, a beloved husband, father, step-father, and neighborhood dad, died on Feb. 3, 2017, at the offices of the Boston law firm Mintz-Levin where he worked. He was 42.

The family said the cause appeared to be a sudden heart attack.

“We are all heartbroken at the passing of Jason. He was an excellent lawyer, a trusted advisor to his clients and a wonderful colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed,” said Dan Gaquin, a colleague at Mintz Levin.  

“This is extremely difficult for all of us,” added Stuart Offner, a Belmont resident who also worked closely with Georgitis at the law office.

Georgitis moved to Belmont 15 years ago when his step-daughter, Isabella Janosi began kindergarten at the Butler School. He and his wife, CC Maher, lived on Slade Street before their daughter, Chloe, was born. They moved to Bellevue Road where they developed deep roots while Chloe attended the Wellington Elementary School. 

“He would often lose the briefcase and appear with a tool belt ready to help any neighbor with any project anytime,” said Owen Carlson of Bellevue Road.

Known for his kindness and generosity, Georgitis would treat the neighborhood kids to ice cream and pick-up games of basketball. Georgitis was a neighborhood dad and co-organizer of the annual block party. He recently became a gifted woodworker and loved to share his craft with others in his basement workshop.

An athlete growing up, Jason took to long-distance cycling as his new sport and would go for long rides on weekends, sometimes finding himself in Maine. Jason took his dogs, Tonka and Tank, to the neighborhood playground and would often knock on neighbors’ doors to see if their dog wanted to join. 

He left a mark on the Chenery baseball field when his radio control plane flew into a tree on its maiden voyage. It can still be seen there today.

Originally from Kennebunk, Maine, Georgitis graduated from Tufts University summa cum laude, and received his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers “Rising Star” practicing real estate law at Mintz Levin, where he became a partner in 2015.

In addition to his wife CC, his step-daughter Isabella, and his daughter Chloe, Georgitis is survived by his mother, Pamela Hogan, father and step-mother, Jim and Debbie Georgitis, and brother, Nathan Georgitis.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Church Belmont in Belmont Center. 

Donations can be sent to the Belmont Savings Bank to help the family through this very difficult time.  The account name is the Jason Georgitis Memorial Fund.

Obituary: Dan Pergamo, Retired Acting Belmont Police Chief

Photo: 

Daniel Patrick Pergamo, who served in the Belmont Police Department for more than four decades retiring as its acting Police Chief, died Saturday morning, April 9, 2016.

He was 80 years old.

Pergamo was born in the Kerry Corner neighborhood of Cambridge which once stretched along the Charles River and Putnam Avenue. After serving in the Navy on a submarine, he joined the Belmont Police Department where he spent 33 years on the force, moving up the ranks to end his career as the acting police chief. He attended school nights to earn his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and then his master’s degree in Criminal Science from Anna Maria College in Paxton.

When asked what he did before he retired, he would say “I worked for municipal government.”

Daniel and his wife, Helen – with whom he raised four children – loved to dance and would spend Saturday nights either at the Canadian American Club in Watertown, the Irish American Club in Arlington, or Hibernian Club in Watertown with their many friends dancing the nights away.

Daniel leaves his wife of 57 years, Helen (Poirier), and his children; Carole Sceppa and her husband Joseph of Burlington, Patti Naylor and her husband Michael of Billerica, James and his wife Susan of Belmont and Joanne Shortell and her husband John of Burlington. He is the grandfather of Michelle Proehl, Daniel Naylor, Kristen and Nicole Sceppa, Michael and David  Pergamo, and Brendan and Erin Shortell and great-grandfather of Matthew Proehl.  He was predeceased by his siblings; Joseph Pergamo, Mary Mercer, and John Pergamo.

Visitation will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home (which supplied the information for the obituary) in Burlington (Exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) this morning, Tuesday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at noon Tuesday. Burial will be private.

Instead of flowers, memorials in Daniel’s name may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org