Francis Nocella

Obituary of Francis Nocella

Francis A. “Frank” Nocella, a resident of Burlington for 48 years, passed away at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center on Monday evening, January 19, 2009. The husband of the late Helen (Burke) he was 84 years old. Frank was born and raised in East Cambridge. He was the son of the Italian immigrants the late Francis and Margherita Nocella. He was a graduate of Cambridge High and Latin High School. Frank was a veteran of World War II serving his country in the United States Coast Guard, having served with the Famous Tank Force #58 during its many successful Pacific amphibious landings. After a six-year period with the U.S. Coast Guard, he enlisted in the United States Army. He retired from the United States Army Reserves after twenty-one years of military service where he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant. Frank had a successful career as a Facilities Supervisor. He worked at National Research in Cambridge for 20 years. He then went on to work at Varian Associates in Lexington for 16 years. Frank and his wife Helen settled in Burlington in 1960 where they raised their family and became an active member of the community. He coached Little League while his sons where young. He also played “Santa Claus” at all the local neighbor Christmas parties. Frank was a parishioner of St. Margaret’s Church in Burlington and was an usher for many years at the 4:30 Mass on Saturday. Frank was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Burlington where he had great impact on the organization and made many friendships. He was on the Bingo committee from 1980 –2001. Frank was also a Past Grand Knight and Knight of the Year. He was also a Third and Fourth Degree Knight. Frank was the founder of the “Koffee Club” which consisted of a group of the retired members of the K of C would gather in the morning for coffee. Frank is the beloved husband of the Helen (Burke). Loving father of Richard Nocella & his wife Deborah of Pepperell, Charles Nocella & his wife Roseann of Nashua, NH, Linda Grady & her husband Ira of Billerica, and the late Francis A. Jr. Brother of the late Philomena Garcia, Olindo Nocella, Mary Temmallo and Ferdinand Nocella. Also survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128,Woburn side) on Friday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Thursday 4-8 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Frank’s name may be made to Knights of Columbus Exceptional Children Fund, P.O. Box 25, Burlington, MA 01803. Suzanne's Eulogy When Frank was baptized, he was called to live the truth of his faith. This is the call to love God, to love neighbor, and participate in the mission of the Church. He modeled these for those of us who were lucky enough to have crossed paths with him. My uncle was fun loving, and generally could break into a song at a drop of a word that triggered a song title to his brain. As a World War II veteran, he was able to share many stories of his adventures in the United States Coast Guard, as well as sharing his love for our country, the men with which he served, and for the Coast Guard itself. Anyone, who knew Uncle Frank, knew he was more than a little fond of baseball. He was a diehard Red Sox fan before it became fashionable. He could speak with authority about any player on that team from any period of time. Many times he told of watching Jimmie Foxx playing at Fenway Park in 1938 and in 1939. He kept track of Foxx as Foxx hit 50 homeruns in one year, 1938. A record that would not be broken until 2006, when David Ortiz hit 54 homeruns in one year. It was during, the 1938 and1939 baseball seasons that Uncle Frank walked himself to Fenway to see Foxx play. During those years Uncle Frank collected his baseball cards and managed to get Jimmie Foxx’s signature among others. He left these treasures in his bedroom when he left to join in the service of our country. When he returned from the war, he found that his collection of cards and signatures had disappeared. My grandmother had done major cleaning of his room. When I asked him how he felt about this, he answered that he was disappointed, but he realized that his mother really didn’t know how important those cards were to him. For an avid baseball fan, this is a true sign of unconditional love! Years later, in celebration of Uncle Frank’s 80th birthday his brother Knights of Columbus and morning coffee companions presented him with an authentically signed photo of Jimmie Foxx. Uncle Frank wept with joy! When I think of Uncle Frank, I see an image of a person who loved others deeply . . . His greatest love was his wife, Helen Burke. His children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were sources of joy for him. He loved telling about them and their accomplishments. Being around him I knew I was loved. He showed his love in so many ways – actions and words: “Sue, you’re the best!” he would say. But, I knew that this show of affection was not reserved just for me. He had a way of making each of us feel that we were each special. What a gift! Both for the giver and the receiver. As our family grew, so did his love and affection for each member. He found a way of finding something good to say about each one of us. Family was important to him, but most important to him were his love for God and his love of the gift of faith. He nurtured this gift. His many years as an active member of the Brotherhood of the Knights of Columbus in Burlington, serving for a time as Grand Knight, gave him many opportunities to serve God, to serve his neighbor, and to serve the church. As a parishioner at his much-loved St. Margaret’s Church, he was actively involved in ministries. He served his parish community as a CCD instructor for several years and as CCD coordinator of Confirmation Classes, and just up until the time he became ill, he held the record for usher/collector. (Much like Jimmie Foxx held the record for homeruns hit in one year. Who will come forward to be the next David Ortiz of ushering and collecting at St. Margaret’s Church here in Burlington???) The last time I saw my uncle was a week ago yesterday. We sat together at his kitchen table and drank our DD decaf coffee. I told him that Jim Rice had been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Copperstown. He was pleased. I told him that Rice’s induction completed the consecutive line of left fielders for the Red Sox to enter the Hall of Fame. He knew this to be true and told me that Williams, Yaz, and now Rice made this complete. Somehow or other, we began talking about his wedding day. I told him that I was witness to his wedding. He found that hard to believe and quizzed me. “Where were your aunt and I married?” he asked incredulously. “Sacred Heart Church in East Cambridge,” I responded. “And I remember the Hall decorated with white, paper wedding bells.” “In fact”, I said, “I danced at your wedding.” At this point he broke in singing “I could Have Dance All Night.” I joined in. And we sang at least three verses of that song in tune! What a perfect way to remember Uncle Frank! A gift I am sure from the Lord. I know that when Uncle Frank passed from this life into his new life, our Lord welcomed him with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We are all grateful to the Lord for allowing Frank Nocella to cross our paths as we journey through our own lives.
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