Dante Scarponi

Obituary of Dante Scarponi

Dante J. Scarponi, 92, peacefully passed on Monday September 28, 2020 at Webster at Rye Assisted Living Community in Rye, NH.


He was born in Cambridge, Mass., on May 25, 1928, the son of the late Guiseppe and Santina (Paglierani) Scarponi and stepson of the late Aurelia Paglierani.  Raised in Cambridge, he graduated from Rindge Tech High School with the Class of 1945.  He attended Boston University 1953-1954.


Dante served in the United States Army in 1950-1952 in the Korean War.  He was assigned to the 40th Infantry Division and the 980th Field Artillery Battalion.  Prior to being deployed to Korea, he was stationed in Japan.  During this time, he climbed Mt Fuji.  He always liked to say, “A wise man climbs Mt Fuji once.  A fool climbs twice.”  In August 1951, while still in Japan, his team won the Camp Haugen Softball Championship.  He was discharged as a Sergeant First Class in 1952. 


Dante worked himself up from an entry-level position to the Manager of Purchasing and Stores at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1945-1984.  He was a member of the Quarter Century Club.  Dante retired from Harvard University where he was employed as the Manager of Purchasing and Stores at Biological Laboratories from 1984-1996. 


Dante was a past member of Portsmouth Country Club in Portsmouth, NH and member of Leo J. Martin Golf Club in Newton, Mass. 


Dante’s main love of his life was his family.  He shared a special bond with his sister, Jennie, which began when he was very young while playing schoolteacher with him.  Dante made it through one day of Kindergarten before his teacher promoted him to first grade, as he knew numbers and alphabet thanks to his sister’s attention. They cherished each other.  Dante spent much of his time in Rye, NH or York, Maine enjoying his family at the beach, the golf course, tennis court or on a tandem bike.  Dante never arrived without home cooked food to add to his sister’s table or, in later years, his niece’s table. 


You knew what type of person Dante was when you opened up the trunk of his car.   It was not only for carrying his golf clubs, which was another one of his loves, but it was outfitted with work boots and clothes, garden tools, saws, hammers and paintbrushes.  If you mentioned a project you were working on, Dante would quickly reappear, changed out of his Sunday best and into work clothes, with everything in hand to get the job done.   


Anyone that met Dante fell in love with him.  Once you were lucky enough to become friends with Dante, you were friends for life.  From his monthly luncheons with his old grade school buddies from Munson Street, to his golfing buddies from Leo J Martin, to his Place Lane condo family, Dante’s social life was full.  Dante’s love of life touched so many more people than can be captured on this page.  They share a place in his heart as well.  Dante always brought sunshine, laughter, interesting conversation, good times and good wine.   His kindness, spirit and encouragement were gifts he gave everyday to all that were lucky enough to call him friend or family.  


Families members include his nephew, Richard Pesaresi and wife Suzanne of Portsmouth; his niece, Linda Geel of Rye and Richard Geel; his niece Jean Pesaresi and wife Carolyn Kemp of Rye, NH; Great-nieces Kati Rogers and husband Bryan, Kirstin Pesaresi, and Erin, Rachel and Abby Geel; Great-Great Nephews Carter and Walker Rogers; beloved companion of the late June Ferracane of Cambridge, Mass. and her children, Richard Ferracane, and Cynthia Jackson & husband Bill, and their children, Benjamin and Adam; loving companion of Lucille Burns of Newton and her children, Meg and husband Steve Oakes, and their children, Michael and Emily, Carolyn and husband Joseph Curtin, and their children, Mikaela, John and Luke, and Michael and wife Linda Burns, and their children, Ryan, Liam and Riley.


In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister Jennie Pesaresi and his brother-in-law Edmond Pesaresi.


Funeral Services were private


In lieu of flowers memorials in Dante’s name may be made to the National Shrine of St. Jude, 3200 E 91st St., Chicago, IL 60617 www.shrineofstjude.org    


Dante Scarponi … A Life Well Lived                                                   10/3/2020

By: Cynthia Jackson


It has been said that names have magic …like spells…  As a mother, I know that choosing a name for child is a way of setting the stage for all that you hope and dream they will become. You spend time writing it out, saying it out loud over and over to get a sense of how that name will pave the way for your child in the world. Often times the names we choose have deep significance and inspiration, with historical and familial origins. Our names precede us in many situations in life and leave behind an impression and an association with everyone we encounter. They leave a legacy of the person who carries them.


Giuseppe & Santina Scarponi chose wisely when they named their son, Dante Joseph Scarponi.


They chose a name that had deep meaning for them. Santina came to this country from Italy on the Dante Allegheri, A ship whose name was taken from one of the greatest of all the Italian poets and scholars of the 13th century.


Interesting fact… While the ship itself was built as a battleship and was a flagship during WW1, it never fired its guns in anger during its career.


Dante Scarponi is a name that did all those things and so much more. He created a special kind of magic in this world from May 25, 1928 until just a few days ago when he left us after 92 years of casting a spell on everyone he encountered.


There really aren’t enough words to describe all that Dante was to all of us.  I’m sure you will agree that these are some of the most significant.


Gentleman, regal, elegant, honorable, trustworthy, handsome, tall, well dressed, meticulous, strong, athletic, intelligent, kind, charming, outgoing, romantic, generous, thoughtful, proper, big hearted, proud to be Italian, gardener, cook and golfer.


In the words of his friends and neighbors on Place Lane, he always brought the magic, the fun, the food and the wine!


Dante started creating a special kind of magic in my world in July 1969, on his first date with my mother June. I was 10 and my brother Rick was 12.  According to Dante’s calendar of events, he was 41 and June was 34.


Tough role to walk into, but like all others he did so with grace and charm. He won us over at an age that any parent would tell you are a challenging.


I remember him coming up the steps that night to meet us. I asked my mother “Is he a hundred feet tall.”

While he was not that tall in stature, he stood that tall in life. He was a rock, a mentor, a teacher, trusted advisor, a stepdad and such a central part of our family.


He was there for every milestone in my life: The celebrations, the mistakes, the happy & sad and so many cherished moments shared with my mom.


 Always steady, always present and always encouraging me to be the best I could be. All our family traditions have an element of Dante woven into them.


Most significant to me is that Dante was there every step of the way with my mom, as she fought a brutal battle with cancer. He never waivered: held us up when we thought we would fall and helped us grieve the huge hole in our hearts when my mom passed away at the young age of 58.


For me Dante was a direct connection with my mom. Over the years he has patiently helped me grieve her loss by keeping her alive in our shared memories. He always made time for my family and never forgot us, despite being separated by many miles.


Even when he found love again with Lucille and her family, he made a point of letting Rick and I know he would still always be our family too.


When my mom passed, my dear cousin Wayne delivered a touching Eulogy that included mention of Dante/aka Dini to his Cambridge family and friends.


 I’d like to share those words with you today. I’m sure you will agree that they capture all Dante brought into the world.


Honestly, I could not have written a tribute to Dini that would have captured all his grace than Wayne did all those years ago.


 In the Eulogy, my mom is talking to God and she asks. Oh Father, tell me about Dini. I love him so.


He responds: I love him too. Worry not my daughter. You will be united again. Dante Scarponi is a very special man. As you will be an angel, Dante will command legions of angels. But don’t expect to be united any time soon. For the goodness that is Dante must remain on Earth to counter the evil, which also exists.


Then God welcomes her home.


I have no doubt that God and all the angels and saints have welcomed Dante home. But, right behind them are Giuseppe, Santina, Jennie, Ed, June, Marina, Tony, Marie, Gino and all the many, many family and friends that loved Dante in this world.


I picture them dancing, and cooking and laughing… the best and most beautiful versions of themselves on earth.


I also have faith that they are all our guardian angels and looking down on us as we try to navigate our lives without them.


Dante Scarponi has left this world a better place; he has enriched all of our lives and left a legacy behind that we all have to strive to live up to. We are left to carry on in his place and love each other the way he loved us.


Farewell Dante. You may be gone from our midst but you will live in our minds and hearts forever.


You will always be our treasured friend, partner, uncle, brother, father, grandfather, neighbor and so much more….



The Magic of Dante                                                                                                    10/03/2020


By: Jean Pesaresi  


You knew what type of person Dante was when you opened up the trunk of his car.   It was not only for carrying his golf clubs, but it was outfitted with work boots and clothes, garden tools, saws, hammers and paintbrushes.  You may get the wrong idea, but he also always had a crowbar and a shovel in his trunk, too.  If you had mentioned you were trying to work on something, Dante would quickly reappear, changed out of his classy threads and into work clothes, with everything in hand to get the job done.   Be it gardening, painting a house, planting a shrub, or cutting trees down, no job was too big or too small for him.  When he found out that Richard had 18 yards of loam delivered, he was the first one to say, “Let’s go spread it.”  A job that should’ve taken days was finished before he left that night. Another time, he arrived to help Richard move a boulder the size of a kitchen table from his backyard to the stonewall.   He brought Grandpa’s 5-foot pinch bar, which for most people just lifting the pinch-bar was a job and a half, but Dante knew how to work that pinch bar to get leverage.  Richard said, “I’m not moving that again.” Dante replied, “Don’t worry.  No one is going to move that again.”  He came to my house in Eliot and helped me level a crushed gravel driveway by dragging a wooden palette like an ox up and down the 240-foot driveway.   Another time, he came to my house to help limb trees.  He was up on a 30 -foot ladder bound and determined to get that last limb when, as he said to me when I came to pull him out of the woods, “That damn leg kicked out! I was grabbing everything on the way down!!”  He retold that story to me on Sunday, the day before he passed.  And he was still laughing saying, “I was grabbing everything on the way down!”


Dante was born this way.  When my parents first bought the house in Rye, he would come with his father, Guiseppe, every weekend to pull all the wild roses out from the back yard.  Whenever Dante came, it was a day full of laughter, joking and good wine. 


Dante not only worked hard, he played hard.  I can’t tell you how many times at Portsmouth Country Club, as we finished walking 18, he’d say, you want to go again?  Sometimes we’d walk just another 9, but there were times that we would walk another 18.  When he got home he would call me laughing and I’d say, “What’s up, Dant?” And he would say, “Jean, I couldn’t get out of the car.  I couldn’t straighten my legs!”  But that never stopped him!  We’d do it again.  Anyone that ever golfed with Dante knows that he always had a positive outlook.  When you hit the ball into the woods, and you’re muttering and pouting about your bad hit, Dante would yell out to you, “Don’t worry.  When you get to your ball, you’re going to love where you’re at!”  To him it didn’t matter where his ball was on the course, in the fairway or in the sand trap, he was enjoying your company and the day. And that was all that mattered.


Everyone who knew Dante knows that he loved to cook and eat.  This past weekend, when I was visiting him on Saturday, I said, “Linda’s coming Sunday for a visit.  She wants to know what she can make you.  She was thinking maybe some homemade applesauce or Italian soup.”  “No. No, just a visit, he said.  Linda is like me, “Food is love.” 


Dante never arrived without home cooked food to add to his sister’s table or, in later years, his niece’s table.  Although there were some instances when he tried to take the credit for some delicious eggplant rollitinis that he would transfer from the take out containers of one of his favorite Italian restaurants near his house into his own pan before arriving.  Richard started the joke. Dante’s recipe for eggplant rollitinis: 1. Warm up car. 2. Drive to restaurant. 3. Go to back door. 4. Knock and yell, Lou I’m here!  Dante also always arrived with loaves of Italian bread in paper bags.  We used to call it Dante’s bread.  For years, his great-nieces thought he actually baked the bread himself.  When the nieces found out that he bought that bread at a bakery near him before coming up, their eyes bugged out as if we had told them there was no Santa Claus.  


When we were little he would always arrive with Italian cold cuts and Dante’s bread.  Cold cuts we had never heard of like motodella, capicolla, and tasta.  When some of us discovered that one of the cold cuts was hog’s head, well, some chose to bypass that choice on the platter next time!  I was not one of them, and in the years to come it was common for Dante to surprise me with tripe from Marco’s when we would come down for a visit.


We had so many family dinners together at my mother’s dining room table.  The table may have been cleared from dinner but the desserts would stay.  Even as kids, it wasn’t uncommon that we would all sit there for hours long after the meal, just reminiscing and talking.   Dante was also known for his biscottis.  He was known for leaving his delicious biscotti on doorknobs in Place Lane.  He always bragged about his biscottis to Linda, which meant the competition was on.  He would try to outdo her by making his biscottis twice as long as Linda’s.  He would say, “Don’t make too many desserts this weekend, I’m bringing my long biscottis.”  The joke became, “Dante’s coming with biscottis, he’s going to have to take the back seat out to fit them in his car.” 


Dante would share his recipes with us, but they never quite tasted the same as when he cooked them.  When you called about a recipe because you couldn’t find it, he always seemed to add an additional ingredient or step that he hadn’t mentioned the first time.  Like, “You let the chicken tenders soak in lemon juice for a few hours.”

Linda once called him to say, “Dante, my sauce does not taste like yours.”  He replied, “Well, did you pick a nice sirloin steak and have the butcher grind it?” and she said, “No, you never told me that!  I’ve been using hamburger meat!”  Minor detail!!  I’m not the cook in our family, like Linda and Suzanne, so I was glad to find out that it wasn’t just me that couldn’t cook like Dante.  Like when I tried to make his chicken marsala and he said to “hit it” with the marsala wine.  And I’d have to call him to say, “Dante, the sauce isn’t thickening up like yours.”  He’d ask me how much marsala wine I’d put in and I said, “ You told me to hit it, so I did.” Evidently my hit was a little heavier than his.  He would laugh and say, “Go pour some out, you’ll be there forever.”  And then, once again, he’d end, “Don’t worry.  It’s going to be delicious!”


Dante was the first one to tell you, “I’m a calendar, guy.”  He was the family historian and kept the family’s record of the good and the bad.  Out of the blue, one day, you’d get a call from him asking, “Do you know what happened 28 years ago today?” …. And then he’d say, “You bought your first house, or graduated from college, or started your job.”  Sometimes I’d ask him, what else does it say on that day.  He’d read, “Oh, 18 years ago, Lucille and I flew out for Italy on that day.”  Or, “Oh, in 1992, I had a tooth extracted!”  Everything was on that calendar.  To him all these events were important, because they were the stories of his life and his family.  The deaths, the marriages, the births, the dates my grandparents left Italy and the dates they arrived at Ellis Island.  Every month, he transferred that information onto the new month for that calendar year.


Once you were lucky enough to become friends with Dante, you were friends for life.  From his monthly luncheons with his old grade school buddies from Munson Street, to his golfing buddies from Leo J Martin, to his Place Lane condo family, Dante’s social life was full. Dante always brought sunshine, laughter, interesting conversation, good times and good wine.   His kindness, spirit and encouragement were gifts he gave everyday to all that were lucky enough to call him friend or family.  A daughter of a very special friend of Dante’s sent a card to him saying “You’re like a sunflower.  You’re tall, beautiful and magical!  The energy from your flower has provided us strength to help us grow.  We are happy flowers that have grown in your light.”  She said it so well.  Dante always made time for everyone. Dante always made you feel special.  That is the magic of Dante.  And I know that Dante’s love of life touched so many more people than I’ll ever know.  They have their special stories to tell about Dante and they share a place in his heart as well. 


I keep thinking about what Dante always said when we golfed.  I know that right now, Dante is laughing and smiling and he’s telling me, “Jean, I love it where I am.  And I picture his sister, Jennie beside him beaming as she welcomes her brother with a bowl of homemade pasta… And she’s saying, Dante did you bring your bread?


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