LEOMINSTER----Lucio (Lou) Anthony Pellegrini, age 102, passed away at Sterling Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
A lifelong Leominster resident, he was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Marion B. (Lacombe) Pellegrini in 2015. He also leaves his sons Lee B. Pellegrini (and wife Rosanne) of Framingham and Dean A. Pellegrini (and wife Jude) of Groton, as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.
Lou graduated from Leominster High School in 1935. He served from 1941 through 1945 in the United States Army during World War II in the artillery division, including campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He made lifelong friends with whom he visited in England and Belgium and remained in touch.
After his military service, he worked 37 years for the U.S. Post Office, first as a mail carrier and later as a clerk.
In addition to that full-time career, Lou continued his father Giuseppe’s and older brother Gerado’s tradition of service to St. Anna’s Parish, where he served as a custodian and sexton for approximately 55 years. When he retired from the Post Office, he continued in that role full-time; tireless in his devotion, he considered the Church “his second home” and reluctantly retired at age 97. His sons recall conversations with elder parishioners who voiced their concern regarding Lou still shoveling snow off stairs well into his 90s.
In 2008, at a “Night at the Oscars”-themed annual fundraising gala for St. Anna’s, he was recognized with an “Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.” Though overwhelmed with appreciation, being a humble man, his response was a simple, but heartfelt, “thank you” to the audience, as his family looked on with pride. That response was fitting, as Lou’s credo has always been “few words are best.”
Lou enjoyed interacting with the children who attended St. Anna’s School, where he helped with lunch-trays during the academic school year. “Mr. Pell” to the pupils, he was the regular recipient of their hand-made cards of thanks and greetings, which he cherished, on holidays and other occasions.
Lou grew up on Lincoln Terrace in a family of eight siblings. They include brothers Biagio, Loreto, Gerardo, and sisters Antonia, Cesidia, Anne and Pasqualina. All predeceased him.
In order to remain active later in life, Lou enjoyed reading, Nature and National Geographic specials, and sketching, and produced many works of drawings for family and friends.
He also was a talented craftsman and enjoyed working in his basement shop, well before the days of “man caves.” There he crafted pieces of furniture, stained-glass lamps and wooden model ships, among many other pursuits.
Though he much preferred work to vacation, during his earlier years Lou and his family vacationed annually for a week at Lake Winnipesauke in central NH. He and his wife also traveled to Belgium and Spain, and enjoyed trips with their adult sons and their wives to Vermont and Maine.
On the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2016, his sons celebrated Lou with a party attended by family and friends at Cristina’s restaurant in Leominster. Since Lou was not a fan of the spotlight, his sons knew better than to make the event a surprise. The invitation featured a quote from playwright Wilson Mizner: “the first 100 years are the hardest.” But Lou made it look easy.
The family extends their sincere thanks to the many parishioners and friends who visited Lou regularly over the last few years, including the Eucharistic ministers. In addition, the family is grateful for the care and friendship provided by the dedicated staff at Sunrise Assisted Living in Leominster, and Sterling Village.
Calling hours will be held at Silas F. Richardson & Son Funeral Home, 106 West Street, Leominster on Monday, July 15th from 4-7 pm. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Anna’s Church, 194 Lancaster Street, Leominster on Tuesday, July 16th at 11 am. Those who will be attending the mass are asked to go directly to church. Burial will be in St. Leo’s Cemetery, Leominster. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Anna’s School or to the Church Restoration Fund.
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