‘The Candy Lady’ loved her family, giving back

Published November 25, 2020

LYNNFIELD — Lorraine Mary (D’Angelo) Vitagliano, 77, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, at her home on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.

Lorraine was born in Melrose and grew up in Everett. She attended Everett High School, where she was active in many social groups and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at Boston College. After graduating, she moved back home to Everett, where she began her teaching career at Everett High School.

She later met her husband of 48 years, Alphonse Vitagliano of Winthrop. They married and lived a storybook life of love, happiness and fun starting in Winthrop for a short time and then Lynnfield.

Lorraine gave up her teaching career to focus on what was most important to her, her family and raising her two kids. “Rana,” as those who knew her best called her, was a vibrant, fun-loving, selfless and giving woman. She loved to cook, speak Italian, served as an Eucharistic minister and spend as much time as possible with her family, which included visiting her kids wherever they were living and working.

She took on different jobs over the years, including a position at Hershey Chocolate, where she became known around town as “The Candy Lady,” and later at Macy’s, where she shopped as much as she worked.

Her kids fondly remember her taking them on trips to Jack’s Joke Shop in Boston, the annual Halloween parties she threw, summers on Mashnee Island, vacations to Bar Harbor, Maine, and her taking them to Boston Common to meet and take homeless people to lunch at Au Bon Pain. She always wanted to make sure they understood the importance of being kind.

Her husband, Al, remembers Lorraine as the beautiful, sweet and giving woman who always greeted him with a big hug and kiss when he returned from a long day’s work and as a perfect, loving and devoted wife. Her grandchildren loved playing McNamara’s Band marching around their Nonni and Papa’s house.

Lorraine bravely battled several illnesses over the years, including arthritis, congestive heart failure and cancer, but her faith and love of God got her through and she always said, “God never gives me more than I can handle.” She never complained.

For nine years, Lorraine was incredibly courageous in her battle with Alzheimer’s and faced it with the same strength, optimism, faith and acceptance that got her through everything else. Lorraine touched the life of anyone she ever met and gave everything of herself to everyone around her. She lit up every room she entered. It brought her great happiness to see both of her children marry wonderful spouses in Jennifer and Brian, and she embraced them as her own.

She died surrounded by her devoted husband, loving children and her incredibly compassionate caregiver, Patricia Jacobs.

Lorraine is survived by her husband, Alphonse Vitagliano of Lynnfield; her daughter Michelle Vitagliano Taranto and her husband Brian of Charlestown; her son Mark Vitagliano and his wife Jennifer; and her beloved grandchildren Lylah and Liv of Lynnfield. She also leaves behind her two sisters, Lenore Bird of Lynnfield and Lois Simard of Danvers, several brothers- and sisters-in-law, her nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. In these especially trying times, we feel Lorraine’s final message to everyone would be one of which she always reminded us: “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

Arrangements for Lorraine’s visitation and interment were in the care of McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Jog Your Memory 5K at https://www.jogyourmemory5k.org/. In order to sign the guestbook, visit www.mcdonaldfs.com.