Norma Ida Giannelli, co-owner of Giannelli’s Restaurant in Burlington for almost 20 years passed away peacefully with her children at her bedside on Saturday night, March 2, 2019. She was 84 years old. Norma was born in Rochester, New York. She was one of three children and the only daughter of Joseph and Ida Chiricosta. She grew up in Medford and was a graduate of Medford High School. As a child she spent much of her time in her mother’s kitchen learning to cook and mastering family recipes. In 1954 she married her sweetheart and soulmate, Carl Giannelli. They purchased a modest home in the little town of Burlington in 1956. She was a homemaker during her children’s school years. Always there to assist, comfort, and care for them in whatever manner necessary. She was a fantastic cook and there was always room at her dining room table for additional family, friends, and her children’s friends. Sunday dinners were a must and she loved to entertain her family and friends.
In the early 80’s she and her husband Carl opened Giannelli’s Restaurant on Cambridge Street in Burlington. It was a truly special place for her family, employees, and the community. Neither had any experience in the restaurant business, but they made up for that with hard work, long hours, and Norma’s original recipes. Norma did everything from design the menu, cook, book keeping, and manage the help. All her children worked in some way in the business which helped make the restaurant a huge success. She and Carl had a special way of running the business. Everyone working for them was treated like family. They gave first jobs to countless youth in Burlington, taught them to care for and take pride in whatever they did, and acted as second parents to many. They gave advise, helped with money issues, created a warm and loving environment to work, and cared for each as if they were their own children. The customers always knew they would be greeted WITH a smile.
There was so much more to Norma that made her special. Norma had a creative side to her. She was a talented oil painter and artist. There are many of Norma’s originals hanging on the wall of her children’s homes which have become family heirlooms to be passed from one generation to another. She shared her love for the arts by teaching ceramics and painting classes in her home for years. She loved all music, especially the songs of Frank Sinatra. She enjoyed dancing and played her baby grand piano. She enjoyed trips to Foxwoods and Hampton Beach. Norma was an avid Boston Sports Fan and enjoyed watching with her family. She enjoyed her weekly Poker games with her good friends. She loved to babysit her grandchildren. As they would say she was quite the prankster She will be remembered for her very very generous heart, the voice of reason, expressing her devotion through her cooking, and loving all those in her life unconditional. If you happened to visit the Giannelli home you would be greeted with a smile and most likely a plate of pasta whether you are hungry or not.
Norma was the beloved wife of the late Carl G. Giannelli who passed in 1992. She was the loving mother of Carl V. Giannelli of Cambridge, Stephen Giannelli of Studio City, CA, Anita & David Sheehan of Burlington, Robert Giannelli of Burlington, Lisa & Stephen DiFrancesco of Burlington, and Richard Giannelli of Studio City, CA. She was predeceased by her brothers, Vincent and Joseph Chiricosta. She was the loving grandmother of Monique & Paul Horsman, Rachael & Brian Sheahan, Michelle & Joe DeAngelis, Christian Murray, Anthony & James DiFrancesco, Kyle Sheehan, Kayla Atton, and late Carl D. Giannelli. She was the great grandmother of Logan & Cameron Sheahen, Isabella & Jolie DeAngelis, Kaylee, Nathan, Ryan Horsman & Giovanni Giannelli.
Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Wednesday, March 6 from 4-7 p.m. Funeral from the Sullivan Funeral Home on Thursday, March 7 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Services will conclude with a burial in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Norma’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452 or www.alz.org/manh. For directions obituary & online guestbook see www.stmargaretburlington.org or www.sullivanfuneralhome.net