Obituaries 10-23-2019

Peter Francis Merenda

A Remarkable Man

Peter Francis Merenda of Warwick, RI, a remarkable man who lived a truly extraordinary life, impacting people far and wide, across continents.

Born in Everett in 1922, the firstborn son of Sicilian immigrant parents, he was raised by the extended family of his adoring Sicilian mother, grandmother and aunts. 

After completing a special college preparatory program, he received his B.S. and Master’s Degrees in physics and mathematics from Tufts University, then quickly moved into an advanced studies program at Harvard.  Along the way, he married the love of his life, Rosie Cafasso (whom he met in grade school when they were both eleven) and began to start his family. 

While at Tufts, he also participated in the Navy ROTC program, eventually becoming an ensign and serving the US Navy during World War II.

Both his brilliance and his lovable personality showed through every facet of his life. After the war, he moved with his family to Norfolk, VA, and then to Kenosha, WI, working as Director of Research at the Naval Examining Center and earning his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin Madison. 

In 1957, he began working for Walter V. Clark Associates in Rhode Island and moved there with his family.

Peter became professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island where he co-founded the Departments of Psychology and Computer Science/Statistics.   During his tenure in academia, he was one of the original members of the American Psychological Association and was granted the prestigious Samuel J. Messick Award.   

Over the years he developed close relationships with scholars across the globe, regularly traveling between the U.S., Europe and Asia.  He also remained a proud member of the US Navy, eventually making Captain (a fact of which he was especially proud.)

In addition to his exceptional career in academia, research and the military, he was a loyal friend and dedicated father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  He truly enjoyed hosting friends, colleagues, and family at his home, cooking impressive meals, attending wine club meetings, reading World War II history, and taking trips up to Gloucester.

Of all his amazing accomplishments, perhaps the most outstanding is the beautiful family he created with his beloved wife, Rose, their three devoted and adoring daughters: Anne Giardina, Rosemary Merenda and Pamela Ardizzone, his loving grandchildren: Peter Giardina (deceased), Lauren Ardizzone, Kathryn Ardizzone and Pamela Ardizzone; his great-granddaughters Rosie and Alicia Mugica, his two grand sons-in-law, Andrew Mugica and Harrison Bookstein, and his loyal Pekingese, Coco. He will always and forever be deeply loved and missed by many.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Monday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. at St. Gregory the Great Church, 360 Cowesett Rd., Warwick, RI.  Burial with military honors will be in RI Veterans Cemetery, Exeter, RI.   In lieu of flowers, friends and loved ones are encouraged to contribute to the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Peter Merenda Prize in Research Methodology.  Checks should be made to the URI Foundation, PO Box 1700, Kingston, RI 02881, noting the Dr. Peter Merenda Prize on the memo line.  Arrangements by the Cafasso & Sons Funeral Home, Everett  617-387-3120.

Richard Racki

40-Year Cab Driver With a Warm and Peaceful Heart

A Funeral Mass was celebrated in the Immaculate Conception Church in Everett on Friday, Oct. 18 for Richard A. Racki, who passed away at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston surrounded by his loving family on Oct.13. He was 77 years old. Interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden.

Born and raised in Chelsea, he attended St. Stanislaus Elementary School and was a proud graduate of Chelsea High School, Class of 1960.

The majority of Richard’s working career was spent as a veteran taxi-cab driver using his uncanny mass of knowledge of the geographic of Everett, Malden, Revere, Chelsea, East Boston and the surrounding communities. He spent over 40 years in the Taxi-Industry, with Independent Cab and Yellow Cab in Chelsea. A Chelsea native, Richard has been a resident of Everett for the past 35 years. One of his passions was for the game of bowling. He held a fifty-year membership with the Sportsmen’s Bowling League on the Lynnway in Lynn and also a membership with the Pro Bowling League of the North Shore. Richie also held affiliations with the Merritt Club of Chelsea and the former Chelsea Lodge of the Moose #736.

In true spirit to his large personality, he offered on many occasions to orchestrate events as a D.J. for family and friends. For many years, he worked with the organization “Parents Without Partners” as a D. J. He will be remembered by his family and friends for his warm and peaceful heart and his ability to rule as a peacemaker.

He was the beloved husband of Laura M. Bessler of Everett;  devoted father of Roberta L. Racki of Chelsea, Brian R. Racki and his wife, Athanasia of Lynn, Nicole A. Bessler of Freetown and Matthew J. Bessler and his wife, Michelle of Everett; cherished grandfather of Ottavia J. Racki of Chelsea, Stephanie A. Racki of Allston, Myranda and Taylor Newton, both of Dracut, Cameron Newton of Woburn and Sydnee, Erin, Macayla and Alyssa Bessler, all of Everett. He was the adored great-grandfather of Giovanni, Izaiah, Dante, Ayla and Wyatt; dear brother of Nathalie Bernard and her husband, Robert of Revere, Anthony Racki and his wife, Genevieve of Lynn, Gregory Racki and his companion Nancy, of Revere, James Racki and his wife, Nancy of South Carolina and the late Frances Oreto and the former husband of the late Deborah (Vannelli) Racki. He is also lovingly survived by many nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements were under the care and direction of the Vertuccio & Smith, Home for Funerals, Revere. To send online condolences, please visit

Edith Orlandella

Fabulous Cook Known for her Exceptional Baked Goods

Edith (Fino) Orlandella of Revere died on Oct. 21 at the age of 95. 

Born in Chelsea on March 11, 1924 to the late Joseph Fino and Michelina (DeAngelis), she was the beloved wife of the late Hugo Orlandella, devoted mother of John Orlandella and his wife, Kelly of Naples FL, Stephen Orlandella of Phoenix, AZ, Diane Orlandella of Revere, and the late Leonard Orlandella; cherished grandmother of Kirsten Orlandella of Florida and Alex and Maya Orlandella of Arizona. 

Edith was a devoted wife for over 59 years and a wonderful, loving mother to her four children and three grandchildren.  She had many nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. 

Edith was a fabulous cook and was known for her exceptional baked goods.  Everyone loved when she would make them their favorite treats. Her famous apple pies were everyone’s favorite.  We have many fond memories of her laughing and dancing with all her family and friends especially her nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. 

Edith was a bright light in our lives and will be sorely missed. 

Her Funeral will be held from the Paul Buonfiglio & Sons-Bruno Funeral Home 128 Revere St, Revere on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at 12 noon.  Relatives and friends are kindly invited.  A visitation will be held today, Wednesday, from 4 to 8 p.m.  Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 500 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959.

Ainslee Mitrano

Of Everett

Ainslee A. “Lee” (Morrison) Mitrano of Everett died on Oct. 19 at the age of 68.

She was the beloved wife of Ciro for 44 years, loving mother of Michael and his wife, Jing, Adam and Nicholas and daughter of the late Angus Morrison and Janet (McGuiggan). She is also survived by four grandchildren: Michael, Angel, Angelee and Isabella.

Her Funeral will be held from the Salvatore Rocco and Sons Funeral Home, 331 Main Street, Everett on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. A Prayer Service will immediately follow in the funeral home at 10:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Visiting hours are today, Wednesday, from 4 to 8 p.m. with complimentary valet parking. Interment at Puritan Lawn Cemetery in Peabody. In lieu of flowers, donations in Lee’s memory can be made to the American Cancer Society. For more information: 1-877-71-ROCCO or

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