Appreciation: Remembering Lou Deprizio, Beloved Youth Sports Coach and Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather

Lou DePrizio would have been so proud, just as he and his wife, Christine DePrizio, were during all the years they raised their five beautiful children who brought so much joy to their parents through all their academic and athletic accomplishments and their success in their careers.

Jenn DePrizio, speaking on behalf of her brothers, Michael and Nick, and sisters, Allison and Jessica, and her mother, Christine, stepped to the podium at the Our Lady of Grace Church and delivered an incredible eulogy that perfectly captured the friendly, outgoing nature of her father and the admiration that people had for him.

Lou DePrizio.

Lifelong friends like Dennis Tiro, part of the illustrious, athletically gifted Tiro family, were also there to honor a man, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, who loved being around people and engaging in often, animated conversations with friends.

“Everyone who knew Lou, knew what a fantastic person he was,” said Tiro.

Members of the Zonta Club, of which Christine DePrizio is a member, also paid their respects at the memorial observances Monday and Tuesday.

The Rev. John Sheridan told the gathering at the Mass that Lou extended so much love and warmth to others, and how Lou affected generations of Chelsea youths in a positive, uplifting way through his coaching of basketball, baseball, and football.  “Their lives were made better because of Lou,” the Rev. Sheridan said.

Noting Lou’s enjoyment of cooking and how he loved hosting large gatherings, especially during the holidays, the Rev. Sheridan said, “Chefs have their recipes – and there is a recipe for life, and if anyone knew there was a recipe for life, it was Lou. And it began with the most important thing, love.”

Jenn DePrizio spoke with composure and grace following a difficult period as the family patriarch battled serious health issues.

“On behalf of my mom, Christine, my sisters, Ally and Jess, and my brothers, Mike and Nick, thank you for being here with us this morning to say farewell and to celebrate the life of my father, Lou DePrizio,” began Jenn. “Being surrounded by so much love and support during the last two months was a great comfort to dad, and it is a great comfort to us today.”

Jenn told of how her father and mother welcomed all people to the family home with open arms. “He was happiest when his house was filled with family and friends enjoying lots of food and having lots of fun together.”

 She spoke about one of her father’s pastimes was grocery shopping, “especially at Market Basket in Chelsea.”

“So, it came as no surprise to many of us when a local news story about grocery shopping aired, and there was dad in a classic, characteristic flannel, pushing his cart down the aisles of Market Basket,” said Jenn.

There were “epic” family summer vacations to places like Storyland and Old Man of the Mountan or legendary rides up Mount Washington, “so many road trips in the beloved van – we always hit the road super early and we were always well prepared.”

 Jenn said her father was a true family man, “and it all started when he married Chrissy almost 50 years ago.”

“They were friends in high school, but things got serious when out of the blue, he wrote her letter, professing his love to her. And together from there, they had a wonderful life together, five children, 11 grandchildren – it’s quite a legacy,” said Jenn. “His grandchildren brought joy to Grampy’s life.

“It’s hard to believe that today we say good-bye to dad – the heart of our family. But as I stand here today, I take comfort knowing that so much of my dad, quirkiness and all, lives on in myself, my siblings, and his grandchildren. My brother Mike embodies Dad overflowing, giving spirit. I like to say that I carry forth Dad’s flair for drama. Dad’s incredibly kind and gentle heart loves on in my sister Ally. Welcoming people into her home and within her community, Jess follows in Dad’s footsteps as a consummate host. Nick is an incredibly loyal friend, just as my dad to so many of you.”

Quoting Maya Angelou, Jenn said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.

“We are deeply said to say good-bye to you, Dad, but we are profoundly lucky to have had so many moments as a family that takes our breaths away. And even though you are no longer with us physically, you live in our hearts, and in your eleven grandchildren’s hearts forever. We love you, Dad. Thank you.”

Those individuals who were fortunate to coach with Lou on his Royals and Yankees teams in youth baseball or against Lou’s teams, remembered him fondly.

“He was just a terrific, terrific guy,” said Larry Notkin, who coached in the Chelsea Youth Baseball League. “He was a great judge of talent, and his teams were always so well-coached and fundamentally sound. And Lou did a fantastic job when he president of the Chelsea Little League. I used to umpire there, and those were great days for everyone involved in baseball in the city because of Lou.”

Al Palladino said it was honor to coach the Yankees with Lou for a period of seven years in the CYBL.  “He was a wonderful person, always so helpful and inspirational to the kids,” said Palladino. “I remember that his two sons were brilliant, one (Mike) went on to Harvard and one (Nick) onto Tufts. The whole family were great Chelsea people.”

Lou DePrizio has left us, but we are all richer for having known this wonderful person. As Jenn DePrizio said, Lou DePrizio will live on in our hearts forever.

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