A 19-year Malden FD veteran and Malden HS, Class of 1993
By Steve Freker
The members of the Malden Fire Department and many in the city and the region are mourning the passing of longtime Malden Firefighter Gary J. Lopresti, Jr., who passed away on Sunday, August 27 following a lengthy battle with occupational cancer. He was 48 years old. Firefighter Lopresti was the father of two daughters and one son and leaves his wife, Karla (Turilli) Lopresti, with whom he shared nearly 25 years of marriage. He lost a long battle with pancreatic cancer and succumbed at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers on August 27.
Malden Fire Commissioner Emery Haskell, Malden Fire Chief Steve Froio, Malden Firefighters 902 and the Massachusetts Association of Professional Firefighters this week announced Firefighter Lopresti’s passing as a line of duty death. Funeral services were planned for today at noon in St. Joseph Church, 790 Salem St., Malden. Uniformed firefighters both local and from across the state as well as local and state Fire Department Honor Guards will be in attendance along with family, friends and local residents.
Firefighter Lopresti was born on April 2, 1975, in Winchester, to the late Gary Lopresti, Sr. and Marlene (Knowlton) Lopresti. He graduated from Malden High School in 1993. Shortly afterward he met the love of his life, Karla (Turilli), and they were married in 1999. Together they raised three children: Ava Grace, Josh Chet and Liv Violet. “They were the world to him and his inspiration,” according to his family.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2016 from Boston University, and over the past few years Mr. Lopresti owned his own business in fire restoration. He served as a Malden Firefighter for 19 years. According to other Malden firefighters, he was respected and admired. They say he loved being a part of the S.A.F.E. Program in Malden, which involved educating young children and the elderly about fire safety.
“It was at the fire station where Gary inherited another family. His sisters and brothers from the fire department worked tirelessly to make sure Gary and his family were never fighting this battle alone,” his family said.
The following was included in his online obituary notice. “Although Gary had a successful professional career, his true success lies in the legacy of his children. He took pride in being the most supportive father he could be to his three children.
“Whether it was on the softball field, in the front row of a dance recital or in the stands of Malden Catholic, he was always a supportive, patient, loving dad. Most importantly, Gary enjoyed the simple moments with his family like watching movies, cooking dinner and relaxing by the fire in their backyard.
“Gary had many accomplishments in his life, he was an exceptional high school athlete, marathon runner, beloved softball coach ‘Garebear’, and recreational basketball coach but his most cherished accomplishment was being called ‘Dad’.”
Mr. Lopresti was the grandson of Jean A. Knowlton and the late Chet Knowlton and the late Alfred and Margaret Lopresti. He was the brother of Julann Casaletto and her husband Ed Casaletto of Malden, Anthony Lopresti and wife Maureen of Milwaukee, Wisc., and Dr. Matthew Lopresti and wife Dr. Mary Anderson Lopresti of Wayland. He also leaves his many nieces and nephews: Zac, Christianna, Gabrielle, Sophia, David, Madeline, Henry, Jax, Caroline, Grace, Savhanna, Sydney, Shae, Laurence, Branden, Gwen, Maggie, Josie and Zoey. He leaves many aunts and uncles, and was the son-in-law to the late Ann Turilli, brother-in-law of LeeAnn and Scott Soucy, Jac-Lyn and Laurence Gibson and Deirdre and Robert McVoy.
According to his family, Firefighter Lopresti “had a special place in his heart for his sisters and brothers of the Malden Fire Department who carried him through his illness and many, many wonderful friends.”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lopresti Children, via Venmo, to The Gary Lopresti Fund: @GaryLopresti-fund or sent to the Malden Fire Department, 1 Sprague St., Malden, with checks to the Gary Lopresti Fund.
Funeral arrangements are by the Boston Cremation – Malden Care Center, 287 Main St., Malden, Mass.