LEOMINSTER – Constance Virginia Chartrand (Bovenzi) 91, a lifelong educator, died Tuesday, January 19th at the Health-Alliance UMass Hospital surrounded by family. Beloved grandmother, mother, sister, wife, cousin, aunt, niece, and friend, she was born in Worcester, MA on December 31, 1929, the daughter of Frank J. Bovenzi and Anna (Mazzaferro) Bovenzi.
She was predeceased by her husband, Edward, her brother John and his wife Barbara (Burchstead) Bovenzi, sister-in-law Midge (Hannigan) Bovenzi, brother-in-law Lucien Mammone and her Aunt Eva (Mazzaferro) LeBlanc.
She is survived by her two daughters, Sally A. (Chartrand) Hazard and Ellen B. (Chartrand) Madonia and her husband Craig of Leominster; her sister Madelyn Mammone of Groton, CT and her brother Frank G. Bovenzi of Leominster; her grandson, Edward C. Hazard and granddaughter Anna F. Madonia, both of Leominster, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Connie moved to Leominster as a young girl, not long after winning Worcester’s citywide 100-yard-dash. While athletics then did not forge a future for such quickness in a woman, Connie infused everything she did with the discipline that kind of energy required. She graduated from Leominster High School in 1948, where she was a football cheerleader. To this day, her 99-year-old Uncle Aldo remembers how upset she was when Leominster lost to Fitchburg in her senior year. Her loyalty to Leominster sports didn’t end with graduation, she remained an active supporter of its teams for decades.
After graduation, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education at Fitchburg State College. In 1951, she married her high school sweetheart, Edward, and for the next forty years, she taught third grade at the Johnny Appleseed School, where she nurtured generations of Leominster children. The quality of attention she gave them, and to the children in her growing Italian family, formed a latticework of relationships, the ongoing gifts of her intuitive and abiding appreciation of the community she watched over, and loved.
Discovery was the classroom she created everywhere. She taught her students, and then her own children, then grandchildren, how to work hard and look out for one another and to spot the wonder in their midst. Whether it was a puppy or a kitten, or brightening an ordinary day by pulling her car to the side of the road to collect wildflowers, or leaving a homemade May basket on a cousin’s doorstep, Connie welcomed the genuine beauty of the world in. As freely, she shared her home with her large extended family--winters meant ice skating on Tuttle’s Pond across the street from her house on Union Street, and summers meant frequent visits to her swimming pool, and happy trips to the Cape. Always, she shared her time. And somehow, with all she did, she had time for everyone.
Edward and Anna, her grandchildren, enjoyed her nonstop spirit during her retirement years. She drove them to their baseball and soccer games, cheering them on. She encouraged their projects and ambitions. There were the Red Sox and Patriots to watch, and piles of books to read and discuss.
She was a member of Holy Family Nazareth Church, the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, the local Red Hat Society, and captain of the Brooks Pond Bocce team at The Leominster Italian American Club.
Above all, she was modest. A strikingly beautiful woman, with dark hair and green eyes. Until her nineties, she still held the drive of that young runner’s quickness, keeping in touch with family always and strengthening those connections with visits and calls. She looked out for so many who needed her until the final months of her long and meaningful life.
A memorial service will be held at a later date in the Spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leominster Education Foundation, 24 Church Street, Leominster, MA 01453 or leominsterschools.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Constance V. (Bovenzi) Chartrand, please visit our floral store.