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Saturday, February 25, 2023
2:00 - 6:00pm (Eastern time)
Edward J. Razzaboni Sr. of Pepperell, MA died on February 17, 2023 surrounded by his family. It was his 82nd birthday. Spiritually, dying on your birthday means that you have lived a perfect life and completed the mission God planned for you at birth. This only confirms what everyone in Ed’s life already knew. He was the perfect husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and friend.
Ed was born in Somerville, MA February 17, 1941, to his mother, Marie Josephine (Faraco) (Italy) and father, George Lewis Razzaboni Sr. (Somerville). Ed and his brother George would travel with their father to Pepperell and Groton to buy chickens and turkeys from local farmers to bring back to the family business in Somerville, Warren Poultry House. In 1955 Ed’s father bought a camp in Pepperell after falling for the charm of the small town. Once Ed graduated from high school in 1959, he moved to Pepperell to work with his brother at George’s Delicatessen on Main St.
It was there that he met the love of his life, Kathy. Ed loved to tell the story of when they first met. He saw Kathy walking down the street next to the store. Ed remembers what she was wearing and how the sun glistened in her hair. It was truly love at first sight. That love only grew and they married on his birthday three years later in 1962. Kathy set the date of February 17, Ed’s birthday, so he would never forget their anniversary. He never did. Ed and Kathy were true soulmates and did everything together. They really enjoyed each other and were rarely apart for the rest of their 62 years together.
Soon after they married, they opened their own store, Economy Market in Townsend, MA. They worked seven days a week for three years until they decided to close the store and start a family. Ed went to work for Alexander’s Supermarket in Lowell, MA as a meat cutter and soon became meat manager.
Ed and Kathy welcomed their first son, Edward Jr. in 1966. Anthony was born two years later, and three years after that Christopher was born. The family of five was now complete. Ed and Kathy bought their first house in 1968, two months after Anthony was born and have lived on ‘the hill’ ever since.
In 1976 Ed and his brothers, George, Warren and Walter opened Razzaboni Bros. Supermarket across from the old deli on Main St. in Pepperell. For 35 years the store was an integral part of the community and to this day, the stories of laughter, tears, and brotherly love, are told and re-told whenever the brothers and their families are together. They remember the 6” sub, chips and soda for 35 cents, the pickle barrel, the macrame, Christmas Eve drinks with the regular customers who were also friends. Ed enjoyed getting to know the customers, once in a while there was a customer without the means to pay, and Ed would tell them they could pay when they could.
Ed’s three boys were required to work in the store for at least one year after graduating high school. They learned so much from their father during this time. Most importantly they learned a strong work ethic and how to treat people with respect and kindness. He was a great father to them, but was also their hero, mentor, and friend. He took great pride in each of his boys and was so happy whenever he got to spend time with them.
After the store closed in 1995, Edward went to work for JCA in Pepperell. He ‘retired’ from JCA in 2008, but that didn’t last long. JCA wooed him back because they couldn’t find a replacement who could do the job as well as Ed. He continued working there for another four years until he retired for good in 2012.
When grandchildren came along, Ed became Grampy. The girls remember Tuesdays with Grammy and Grampy, trips to McDonald’s (trying to be the first one to see the double arches), Chuck E. Cheese, Hershey Kisses for toilet training, rides in the white van, Canobie Lake Park, and back to school shopping. As the grandchildren got older, he would give out scratch tickets and lottery tickets whenever there was a get-together. He was always sure someone would win big.
Ed loved ice cream, so he began the tradition of making sundaes when the grandkids were over. He loved a good practical joke too, so found a fake sundae and would put it in front of someone and laugh at their reaction. A few years ago, he came up with a new tradition, the chocolate-covered ice cream ball. He worked so hard on getting the coating just right and had to make sure he got everyone’s favorite flavor.
Loved ones would marvel at the fact that he was now retired, but always so busy. Ed never had enough time to get all of his projects done. He was so energetic, motivated, and full of ideas. Sadly, there are many projects that will be left not started.
One of Ed’s favorite hobbies that he shared with Kathy was antiquing, going to estate sales, flea markets, and auctions, always in search of the perfect find. If they were looking for a particular item, they would be sure to find it. They were always lucky that way. Ed would refinish or repurpose their finds. He had quite an eye and talent for bringing an item back to life. He appreciated the workmanship of old and the history behind the antiques. Ed would also pick up any doodad he came across if it was the right price whether he needed it or not. He knew that someone, someday, would need it. Sure enough if anyone was in need of a nut, bolt, hinge etc., he was always able to say, “I have one of those”. Ed recently re-organized his workshop, so he would be comfortable while he tinkered and would spend hours there lost in the latest project.
Another great passion Ed had was his yard. He and Kathy spent every spring tirelessly bringing it back to life, adding new plants, trees, shrubs, and ornaments. Each summer it would turn into an oasis, and he took such pride in its beauty and serenity. He was either on his lawn mower or tractor or using his leaf blower. Ed even found the time to clean up his son Tony’s yard next door because he couldn’t sit still. One of his last additions to his landscape was a ’perpetual light’ that he created under the grape arbor to honor family members who have passed away.
For the past several years Ed and Kathy would get together with their son, Tony and his wife every other Saturday for card night. They played for money and the winner would collect the pot at the end of the year. Try as he might, Ed never won the pot, but he and Kathy didn’t care, they would say they were lucky in love. Ed did win the first game of 2023 and really felt that it was going to be his year. Probably not, because he definitely didn’t have a poker face.
Last summer Ed and Kathy finished a patio. They did all the work themselves, which is no small feat for even a far younger couple. After it was finished, they would sit out every afternoon with snacks and drinks for anyone who stopped by. 2022 was the year of the Mai Tai, the newest tradition. Ed got a recipe from Eddie Jr., made it his own, and ever since then he would offer a Mai Tai to anyone and everyone. Christopher would stop by almost every day after work to have one with his father before going home. Edward took such joy in making others happy and would make anyone feel at home even if they just met. Ed was always a thinker and when he realized he could save time by making a gallon container, he made Ed’s Magical Mai Tais in gallon batches. He even gave them out to the family for Christmas and yet another tradition was born. While Ed was very sick in the ICU, his last request was to have a Mai Tai with his boys.
In October of last year, the Razzabonis had their first family reunion at the ‘camp’ Ed’s father bought years before. Now it’s known as the ‘ranch house’ where his sister, Dianne lives. Ed, Dianne and the rest of the siblings took about a year planning the party. One of the hits of the party was the memorabilia that Ed saved from George’s Delicatessen and Razzaboni Bros. Supermarket. He put everything on display and let anyone take home what they wanted. He was so excited to share the memories of his family with the younger generation and was already planning the next reunion.
Ed was a strong, happy, thoughtful, and generous person. He would help anyone with any problem. Family and friends would often seek him out for advice because they knew he was honest, understanding, compassionate and kind. Ed will be remembered for different things by different people, but the one quality that he will be remembered for by everyone is that he was a good, good man. He will be missed dearly.
Edward is survived by his wife of 62 years, Kathleen (Gerlach); his sons, Edward Jr. (Anne) of Hooksett, NH, Anthony (Alice) of Pepperell, Christopher (Susan) of Pepperell; his brothers, George Jr. of Brookline, NH, Walter (Rosie) of Milford, NH, Warren (Marilyn) of Pepperell; his sisters, Beverly Tisei of Wakefield, MA, Millie Thibeault of Englewood, CO, and Dianne (Richard) Kazanjian of Pepperell; his brothers-in-law, Michael (Anita) Gerlach of Manchester, NH, Matthew (Terry) Gerlach of Nashua, NH; his sisters-in-law, Candy Casey of FL, Lillian (Woody) Syrjala of Nashua, NH, Cynthia (Michael) Mahoney, FL; his grandchildren, Katie, Justine, Gabby, Maggie, Laura, Joey, Jared, and Jake; his great grandchildren, Odin and Lana; his nephews and nieces, George III, Mark, Lori, Cindy, Richard, Donna, Denise, Warren, Wayne, Angela, Barbie, Brian, Walter Jr., David, Nicole, Richard, Vincent, Jessica, Mark, Ricky, William, Jake, Nikolai, Brian, Michael, Matthew.
He was predeceased by his sisters-in-law Sally Razzaboni and Marie Razzaboni, Corrine Adamsky; his nieces, Michelle Razzaboni and Debra Tisei; his nephews Brian Razzaboni and Shawn Follansbee.
Visiting hours will be held in the McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main St., (Rte. 113) Pepperell, MA on Saturday, February 25th from 2 - 6 pm. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend.
Please join us when we celebrate the life of Edward Razzaboni Sr. this summer. Look for the date. Everyone is welcome, and invited to share a story or memory about Ed.
The Edward Razzaboni Family requests donations to PACH, PO Box 1247, Pepperell, MA 01463 ( www.pachoutreach.org)