Evelyn L. Ferrara

WILMINGTON — Evelyn Louise (Meuse) Ferrara, age 98, of Wilmington, passed away on Nov. 9, 2017, at the home of her daughter, Rene’ (Ferrara) Lake-Gagliardi. Rene’ was with her at the time of her passing, joined by her brother, Vincent James Ferrara, via FaceTime.

Evelyn met her husband of 55 years, Anthony James Ferrara, who predeceased her, on the dance floor. Both were dancing enthusiasts who for 25 years ran a monthly ballroom dancing group at the Wilmington Knights of Columbus. In her early adult years, Evelyn travelled throughout the country, working as a waitress in some of the nation’s classic resorts and restaurants, including the Hollywood Beach Hotel in Florida and New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Hotel.

Married in 1956, Evelyn and Anthony were delighted to become parents to their daughter, Rene’ and son, Vincent. They moved into a new home in Wilmington, built by Anthony, a carpenter at the time, and readied just in time to bring their first child home from the hospital. Evelyn was a resident of Wilmington for nearly 60 years, spending her last years at the home of her daughter. She expressed great appreciation for the opportunity to live out her life in the home of Rene’ and her husband, Peter.

The Ferrara home was filled with music and dancing. Husband Anthony was a tenor with a great love for “barbershop” music. Evelyn, a pianist who played the piano regularly until a few years before her passing, ensured that both her children became trained in the piano. Had her family been able to afford college, she would have majored in journalism, pursing her great love of the English language. Until very recently, she engaged in crossword puzzles daily and corresponded with old friends and relatives in letters that were poetic and full of wisdom. Even in her 90s her penmanship was impeccable.

After graduating from high school, Evelyn worked in a variety of jobs, including clerical work in a law office, a position screening visitors at a tuberculosis sanitarium, and a brief stint as a dance instructor before she turned to waitressing. Once her children were in school, Evelyn returned to the work that she loved, waitressing, beginning with the lunch shift at the local Friendly’s. In 1969, she took a job at the Hill Top Steak House in Saugus where she worked for 37 years, retiring at the age of 87.

Evelyn loved the water and was an avid swimmer with enthusiasm for boats as well. As a teenager, she was first baseman on her high school varsity baseball team. She was an enthusiastic fan of the Boston Red Sox, and especially, of the New England Patriots and its quarterback, Tom Brady. Go Patriots!

She was a willing and cheerful helper, always willing to pitch in, whether it was the building of her own home or that of her daughter. Neighbors still fondly remember her for her role in creating and organizing an annual block party that was always well attended.

Her outlook was always positive, right to the end. She saw the good in people. Her kind and gentle approach resulted in lasting friendships. Her insights and suggestions were always positive and supportive, demonstrating only the best of intentions. Up to the day before she passed, she enjoyed participating in the weekly Royalston Council on Aging’s senior citizen luncheon.

Evelyn loved her family most of all. She treasured her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. To her grandchildren, Angelina (Lake) Sutherland and Anthony Lake, she was a constant beacon of light. From the moment they were born, she loved them fully, never judging or pushing them in a particular direction. She looked at them with complete admiration for who they already were, making them feel as though they were always enough just the way they were. She taught them that life was about balance, to remember that “this too shall pass,” how to live in the moment and be the best version of themselves.

In her memoir, Evelyn said, “As I approach my 90th year, know that my journey through life has been a satisfying one. God has been good to me.” She was able to stay with us for another nine years and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

In addition to her children, Evelyn leaves Vincent’s wife Dianna, Rene’’s husband Peter Gagliardi, Angelina’s husband Todd Sutherland, Anthony’s partner Jeanette Beaudette, and grandchildren Justin Vincent Desmarais and Vincent Noah Lake. She was predeceased by a grandson, Vincent Howard Lake; her parents, Joseph W. and Mary F. (Doucette) Meuse; and siblings Helen Elliott, Dorothy Lineberry and Joseph Meuse.

Family and friends will gather for visitation at the Nichols Funeral Home Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A brief service of remembrance will be conducted at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Evelyn’s name can be made to the Royalston Council on Aging, c/o Betty Woodbury, P.O. Box 128, Royalston, MA 01368.

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