Chelsea residents fondly remembered Charles F. “Honey” Lanzillo Sr. during a memorial observance at the Welsh Funeral Home and a Funeral Mass at the Saint Rose Church last Thursday and Friday.
Mr. Lanzillo, a member of the Greatest Generation who served his country during World War II and received military honors, died on Saturday, Nov. 6. He was 101.
Mr. Lanzillo and his wife, Dorothy B. (Beaulieu) Lanzillo, lived in the long-time Lanzillo home on Chester Avenue and had three children, Dr. Charles F. Lanzillo Jr., Susan Lanzillo DeSantis, and Joan Lanzillo Hahesy.
Mr. Lanzillo was a member of the Chelsea High School Class of 1939, a close-knit group that became known as the ‘39ers. Mr. Lanzillo helped plan the reunions where he would enjoy reminiscing about Chelsea High with such classmates as Elizabeth McBride, Bill Sartorelli, Edith Sartorelli, William “Bucky” Mugford, Frank Charak and David Sherman. Mr. Lanzillo treasured those get-togethers and the lifelong friendships they shared.
Mr. Lanzillo was a popular employee of The Chelsea Record, then a daily newspaper published five days a week. Very knowledgeable about his craft, Mr. Lanzillo worked in the composing room and was instrumental in getting the newspaper to press each day. He retired from The Chelsea Record in 1981.
At the Funeral Mass at St. Rose Church, Dr. Charles F. Lanzillo Jr. delivered the eulogy. “Thank you all for coming,” said Dr. Lanzillo.
He noted the presence in the church of his sisters Susan and Joan, who he said were very close to their father. “And especially Susan, who unselfishly and lovingly immersed herself in the care of dad in his final days.”
Dr. Lanzillo said, “In his 100 years, I never saw him get angry or curse in any way. I never saw him shirk his responsibilities. He always put his family first.”
Dr. Lanzillo said his father was “loyal to his family, loyal to his country, loyal to his jobs, and loyal to this city. We don’t make many people like this anymore.
“And to me, that is what is so sad about his passing,” continued Dr. Lanzillo. “My sisters and I are losing a loving father who can never be replaced. But our country is losing the kind of person that made this country safe and great. I mourn for my loss, I mourn for my sisters’ loss, and I mourn for our country’s loss.”
Dr. Lanzillo delivered a shining final tribute to his beloved dad. The remarks were brief but everyone who knew his father could appreciate and understand the message: Charles F. Lanzillo Sr. was a great person, a man who fought for his country, an industrious worker, a terrific role model, and a tremendous father.