Obituary of Rita M Bonugli
Rita Marie (Bouchard) Bonugli passed away at her home on Monday afternoon, June 21, 2021. The beloved wife of Giovanni Bonugli, she was 85 years old.
Rita was born, raised, and educated in Grandes-Bergeronnes in Quebec Canada. She was one of 15 children born to the late Lorenzo and Christianne Bouchard. Her husband Giovanni was born in Mons, Belgium to parents from Barga, Italy. Giovanni moved to Montreal, Canada where he would meet Rita through her sister when she was looking for a photographer. On their wedding night, April 23, 1960, they moved to the United States. They settled in Burlington, MA in 1968 where they would raise their three children.
Rita was a woman full of energy. She worked part-time at Filene’s Basement in Burlington for 19 years - from the first day the store opened until the last day that the store closed. With her outgoing personality and friendly demeanor, it was the perfect job for Rita. She was also the consummate homemaker. She loved to cook. Italian dishes and desserts were her specialty, but she always made sure to add a little bit of her French twist to the dishes. She wouldn’t think twice about mowing the lawn or painting the house. She loved to work in her garden. Her grass and garden were always meticulous.
Rita enjoyed traveling and had taken several trips to Italy, visited relatives in Canada, traveled cross country, and took memorable trips in the 70s and 80s to Disney World with her husband and children around the holidays. She was a loving and supportive mother. She made sure her children had everything they needed and had good educations. Rita will be remembered for her outgoing personality, her warmth, kindness, and love of family and friends.
She was the beloved wife of Giovanni Bonugli and the loving mother of her son, daughter Michelle Bonugli Tucci & her husband Jim Tucci, daughter Nicole Bonugli Richardson & her husband Brian Richardson, and the proud grandmother of 2 grandchildren and 3 dogs, Pipa, Bella, and Molson.
In lieu of flowers memorials in Rita’s name may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452 www.alz.org
We all hear people say "Our parents were the best parents in the world.".
Richard, Nicole, and I were very lucky to have had the parents we did.
Our father, Giovanni, was the most amazing, kind, courageous, ethical, giving, and intelligent person we've known.
Our mother, Rita, was hard working, frugal, and giving - and a social butterfly.
Our father was born in Belgium to Italian parents. He lived in Belgium and Italy before immigrating to the
United States for freedom, opportunity, and a better place to raise a family.
And for a place where it doesn't rain 70% of the time.
He first went to Montreal, Canada where he met our mother, Rita. She supported his dream.
They got married in Canada and immigrated to the United States on their wedding night.
Giovanni had this little black US History book he used to help study for
American high school history class and to prepare for his US Citizenship test.
The one thing he highlighted in this little black History book and always remembered was
Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or Give me Death".
I really didn't understand the depth of why our father loved this phrase so much until
my husband I have lived in Belgium. With all taxes, restrictions, rules,
we Americans don't realize how much freedom and opportunity we have here in the United States.
Our father took that opportunity and worked hard and succeeded.
He taught us to do the same. He did whatever he could to provide us with
great childhoods and to learn, grow and succeed as adults.
From helping my brother design and build his Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby car that predominantly won each year,
making my brother lead hockey pucks to help him with his slapshot,
driving me to my violin lessons and orchestra rehearsals (granted he did just drop me off in the middle of Boston
with 5 bucks for lunch), getting my skates sharpened at the best hockey shop while I was in college, teaching Nicole
to be a handywoman - to fix something herself, before paying for someone else to do it
(like changing her own oil and filter in her car and motorcycle, fixing the lawn mower, changing the
kitchen and bathroom faucets, and replacing a toilet). So if anyone needs any handy work done, contact Nicole.
Never once did our father say "No" - but then again, we never asked him for anything unreasonable.
Our mother would say "No.."...sometimes for good reasons, but sometimes for reasons that didn't make any sense.
Our mother would shop sales and use coupons at the supermarket and at Filene's Basement where she worked for 19 years,
and would make homemade fresh food from scratch. She was an amazing cook. She would make homemade raviolis,
egg rolls, lasagna, pot roasts and bake cakes, cookies, pies. There was nothing she couldn't make or do.
She loved to share her food with people and entertain them with dinner parties.
She, with our father's mother, would always make Sunday Dinner. You could smell the dinner outside all the way
down on Jefferson Ave.
After raising us and working all his life, he devoted the last 20 years of his life, his retirement/golden years caring for his wife
after our mother had her double ruptured brain aneurysm and developed alzheimer's and dementia.
He refused to place her in a nursing home. His beloved Pipa kept him going.
Our parents weren't rich, but they earned every penny they had.
They would do what they could to make us all happy and have a great life with lots of memories.
Our father couldn't afford to pay for airfare for the family to go to Florida and stay in hotels and rent a car,
so he drove us down to Florida and we camped.
And we had great memories - stopping at Stuckeys for pecan rolls, orange picking, going to amusement parks,
going to Daytona beach - where my father would make a sand statue of a naked woman lying on the beach.
And the chocolate and candy stocking stuffers our father would covertly place in our stockings each night in December,
leading up to Christmas. Nicole told her classmates that Santa came to the Bonugli household every night in December to
bring us chocolate.
Chocolate - our parents loved chocolate. Who doesn't?
Our mother had this habit of eating during the night. And she sure loved sweets.
One morning our father got up and went to the bathroom. He looked in the mirror and thought he had been stabbed
in the middle of the night. Only then did he realize that he had chocolate all over his head and face.
We could hear him saying "It's EVEN in my ears!". Oh My ...the visual...
We can only wonder and imagine HOW the chocolate got all over our father?
I brought some chocolate from Belgium to each and every one of you in memory of our parents.
Please feel free to eat it in bed!
Edward V. Sullivan
43 Winn Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: (781) 272-0050