While he may have spent the last few years of his life in Stoneham, Richard Anzalone was a longtime Wakefield resident who was a regular at St. Joseph's Church. Anzalone died earlier this month at the Woburn Nursing Center. He was 83.
Mr. Anzalone, who was born on July 28, 1927, grew up in the area and came of age shortly after World War II. He attended Malden Catholic High School and Burdett School of Business.
Although it would be too late for him to serve in World War I, he was a switch board operator and medic for the Army in Korea, rising to the rank of a Technician Fifth Grade.
Although he was proud to serve his country, the experience left an indelible mark on habits he had for the rest of his life, family member said, such as refusing afterwards to go camping or eat rice, saying he had seen enough of both in combat.
Returning home in 1952, he married Patricia A. Nardone and together they raised six children, five daughters and a son, all of whom still live in New England.
After returning from war, Mr. Anzalone worked as a computer and business manager for the .
Initially the family lived on Pearl Street, but in the early 60s they moved to a home on Emerson Street, where Richard would live until he moved to Stoneham with his daughter, Mary Clare McNamara, five years after the death of his wife in 1998.
McNamara said she fondly remembers growing up and going to St. Joseph Elementary School during the week and St. Joseph's Parish on Sundays followed by large dinners with extended family from nearby, just a few of the family traditions Anzalone helped instill in himself and his family throughout his life.
“He would always bring us green carnations on St. Patrick’s day even though he wasn’t Irish,” said McNamara. “He didn’t smoke or drink, but on special occasions he would have a Kahlua Sombrero, and he would have exactly one.”
But beyond his personal traditions, what McNamara remembers most about her father is the sense of integrity he instilled into her at an early age.
“I’m sure we all gave him a run for his money, but whether we were going somewhere on our own or going somewhere as a family when we were young, he’d always say to us, ‘remember, you’re an Anzalone’, there’s a responsibility that goes with that’,” said McNamara.
He retired from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department in 1992, where he initially started as an accountant and eventually worked his way up to the level of computer business manager, but for most of his retirement, even after moving to Stoneham with McNamara, he was a still a fixture in Wakefield, never missing a Sunday mass at St. Joseph's Church or a chance to grab a meal at the North Avenue Diner, where he was a regular.
He was the father of Richard J. Anzalone, Jr. of Malden, Margaret M. Anzalone of Littleton, Patrice Asztalos of Stoughton, Helene Anzalone of Thornton, NH, Mary Clare McNamara of Stoneham and Eleanor Ciampa of Saugus. He was the brother of the late Charles, Edmund, Maurice, Donald and Catherine Anzalone and Vera Marino. He is also survived by 8 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
His wake was held at the on April 29 and a funeral mass was said at on April 30. He was buried in Forest Glade Cemetery in Wakefield.
A fund has been created in his memory with the American Heart Association. Donations can be made online or by mail care of the American Heart Association, 20 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.