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.

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  1. steve pannella says

    I played softball with ernie for eight years with waverley insurance and we had some good times while we were playing. great player and great teammate and I was sorry to hear about his passing.

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