Marie (Galvagna) Catalano, who achieved a lifelong dream in 1984 when she earned a college diploma - all while overseeing a bustling household - passed away peacefully on March 19, 2020 at the Hyder house Family Hospice in Dover, N.H.Marie was born in Lawrence, Feb. 5, 1931, the daughter of the late Orazio and Mary (Musemecci) Galvagna, who immigrated to Lawrence from Sicily.
She was the beloved wife of G. Thomas Catalano for more than 62 years. Marie was raised in North Andover and learned from her parents the importance of education, kindness and hard work. Marie's parents ran a small grocery store on Union Street in Lawrence, Galvagna's Market, which offered the neighborhood fresh bread, meats, cheeses and Italian specialties. The Galvagna family settled on Massachusetts Avenue in North Andover, where Marie graduated from Johnson High School. Marie would meet her future husband during a reunion meeting for members of Holy Rosary Church, just a few blocks away from the family market. Following high school, Marie possessed relentless tenacity to pursue higher education. She would first earn her associate's degree at Simmons College, riding the commuter rail to Boston to attend classes. While earning her first degree, Marie worked as a medical technologist.
Marie opted for a campus closer to home for her bachelor of arts degree in English, as she graduated summa cum laude from UMass Lowell in 1984. While not attending to her own studies, Marie helped engineering students master writing skills. Marie was a stickler for proper grammar. Those who misused "I" for "me" during a conversation would be swiftly schooled with a smile. Her mastery of the English language, history and many other worldly matters were quite evident when she completed the New York Times Crossword Puzzle daily. Marie enjoyed playing tennis and rowing her ocean scull. Inside activities included playing the piano, bridge with friends and reading. But it was in one of Marie's meticulously tended gardens where she was often most happy. Marie's knowledge of even the most obscure flower, plant or bush was indeed impressive.
Marie was equally skilled in the kitchen. She took cooking classes at the famed Paris cooking school, La Varenne. But it was Marie's chicken cutlets, pasta with peas and salmon, and fresh made salad -- always with homemade dressing -- and other less worldly dishes that always had family members and friends asking for seconds. Preparation of elaborate meals were effortless for Marie, even on Sunday evenings at the family's summer home on Gerrish Island, in Kittery Point, Maine, where the kitchen table - and often the dining room table, too - were filled with hungry family members who stayed the weekend. Ella Fitzgerald was often the music of choice that complemented such family meals. In Kittery, Marie and her husband were Salvation Army volunteers, cooking weekly meals for those less fortunate.
Marie and her husband Tom were avid travelers, often times venturing abroad with the family and other times with friends. The couple's last major trip, with their children, spouses and grandchildren - 18 in all - was to Sicily. The extended family stayed in a villa on the western flank of Mount Etna. A highlight of the journey was reconnecting with relatives and visiting the small town where her father was born, Nicolisi. A picture of the entire family in the Nicolisi town square is proudly displayed in Marie's home.
Besides her husband, Marie is survived by four children: Thomas Catalano, and his wife, Carol (Rhodes) Catalano, of Boston; and daughters Barbara Catalano Hey, and her husband Thomas, of West Newbury; Catherine Catalano Scott, and her husband, Christopher, of Merrimac; and Claudia Catalano and her husband, Darren, of Arlington; eight grandchildren, Andy Scott, of Newburyport and his sister, Stephanie Scott of Amesbury; Alex Catalano, of New York City and his twin sister, Zoe Catalano, of Jackson, Wyoming; Andrea Hey, of San Francisco, and her brother, Nathan Hey, of West Newbury; and Carly Buck and her younger brother, Aidan, both of Arlington; her brother, Samuel Galvagna, of North Andover; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Catalano was predeceased by her brother, Anthony Galvagna, who passed away in 1984. Her beloved sister-in-law, Carmelina, passed away in 2017.
A Private funeral Mass will be at St. Michael Church, North Andover.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Emmaus Inc., a Haverhill-based long-term and emergency housing and job-training provider, located at 127 How St.
February 5, 1931 - March 19, 202002/05/193103/19/2020
Marie A. (Galvagna) Catalano
3 Trees have been planted in memory of Marie Catalano.