It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael DiGregorio Sr., age 71, on April 15th due to complications from cancer. His devastated family was at his bedside. Michael bravely fought early onset Alzheimer’s disease, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and multiple myeloma hematological cancer for several years. Against all odds, he rallied forward, never losing his faith or his exuberant, joyful love of life. The center of Michael’s world was always his endless devotion to his family.
Michael was born and raised in Chelsea before moving to Revere. He was the son of the late Mario DiGregorio Jr. and Angelina (Spellino). Michael cherished and selflessly devoted his time to caring for his mother and visiting her almost daily in her nursing home for many years until she passed in 2017, one month short of her 91st birthday. He was very close with his two siblings: his older brother, Anthony and his wife Judith (Sherriff), and his younger sister, Josephine and her late husband Kenneth Sacco. Michael also grew up very close to numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, especially the Loycanos, the LaMonicas, and, of course, the DiGregorios. He was especially fond of his last remaining aunt, Phyllis (DiGregorio) Falzone, who is currently in her 90s.
Over 50 years ago, Michael met Patricia (Colarusso), who would become his loving wife of almost 43 years. They would go on to have his beloved only child, Michael Jr., whom he always called his greatest joy in life. In addition to being father and son, Michael and Michael Jr. also considered each other best friends, and they shared all the same interests and hobbies. Michael was never happier than when he was with his son — and vice versa.
Michael was also very close to his brother-in-law, Frederick Colarusso and his wife Rosanne (Pallotta). He always adored and took great pride in his six nieces and nephews: Craig, David, Cheryl, Gina, Alison, and Lauren. He cherished his four beautiful grandnieces: Luciana, Cleo, Hazel, and Eloise, and he loved his precious grandnephew, Vincent.
A proud Roman Catholic, Michael was educated by the Sisters of Providence at St. Rose School in Chelsea for primary school, and then by the Salesians of Don Bosco at St. Dominic Savio High School in East Boston. He received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a major in history from Salem State College. He later continued his post-graduate education, attending business school at Northeastern University.
Michael worked extremely hard his entire life, from summer jobs packaging hazardous materials at Howe & French chemical factory, to helping his father run his furniture upholstery business. It was while working at Almys Department Store in Revere, during college, that he met his future wife and fellow employee, Patti, and a large group of friends with whom he kept in touch and maintained close friendships for decades.
After taking over as store manager at another Almys location in Salem, Michael was hired to work as a corporate buyer and regional purchasing manager at Bradlees Department Store chain. It was during this time that he solidified many more lifelong friendships and was given the opportunity to travel extensively across the country to dozens of states, and, very often, to New York City. After leaving Bradlees, Michael was hired as an executive vice-president of one of the last remaining textile manufacturers in the city of Boston. Subsequently, he started a small business as a retail store owner, and eventually, he expanded to two stores in MA and NH.
When his wife, Patti was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, Michael made the decision to close his business, and re-educated himself as a real estate agent, so that he could have a more flexible schedule and be able to care for her. When she recovered — in part due to his devoted caretaking — he expanded his credentials to include joining the National Association of Realtors. He then took and passed the difficult MA real estate broker’s licensure examination on his first attempt. He remained a real estate broker until illness forced him to retire.
Just as he had done for her during her illness, Michael’s beloved wife Patti lovingly set all else aside to care for him in his time of great need. Despite being repeatedly told that caring for someone with as many medical complications as Michael would be nearly impossible to do, Patti and Michael Jr. made the decision to be responsible for all of his full-time care at home, while still bringing him themselves for all his medical appointments, including weekly chemotherapy. This enabled Michael to be comfortable and happy living at his home, and it ensured that he was constantly surrounded by the love he so greatly deserved. Michael will be extraordinarily missed and eternally loved.
Funeral from the Buonfiglio Funeral Home, Revere on Thursday April 20 followed by a funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Revere. Visitations were be held on Wednesday. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery. Donations in Michael’s memory can be made to the National Multiple Myeloma Foundation at www.myeloma.org or the Alzheimer’s Foundation at www.alz.org.