A family-oriented woman who loved the summertime on the Cape

MELROSE — Marie “Bunny” Theresa DiPirro (O’Brien), longtime Melrose resident, reached the end of her wonderful life on March 24, 2023, at the age of 88, one week before her 89th birthday.

Born in Somerville on March 31, 1934, Bunny was the youngest of eleven children, as her baby sister passed at birth. Her parents, Pa and Ma O’Brien, were proud, working-class people who instilled a deep love and appreciation of both faith and family in their children. Bunny’s brothers and sisters were her closest friends. As a Greatest Generation Family, money was tight, but the O’Brien’s were rich in joy and happiness. Cheerful song and dance filled the walls of Bunny’s childhood home, and this love of music carried throughout her life. Even in her final days, there was always a sweet, familiar hum coming from her lips.

In 1950, friends set Bunny up on a blind date with an eligible local bachelor named Raymond DiPirro. Bunny and Ray were an incredibly handsome pair who looked as though they had stepped out of an old Hollywood movie. Bunny graduated from Somerville High School in 1952. After several years of courtship, Bunny and Ray were engaged. Upon the news of the upcoming nuptials, it was headlined in one local newspaper as “Somerville Beauty’s Engagement Announced.” The couple married in 1955 and went on to have eight children – six boys and two girls.

In 1969, Bunny and Ray moved to Melrose after they had taken numerous road trips to the quiet town. Bunny dreamed about raising her family there, and over the last fifty-three years, generations of DiPirro’s have filled their prized Victorian home with beautiful memories. Bunny loved summertime on the Cape in Brewster, MA, which she referred to as “God’s country,” a term her mother also used to describe it.

Bunny never wanted to be far from her beloved home. As her time on earth came to an end, she rested peacefully with her family by her side each day. There was nothing that she loved more than the company of her eight children, eighteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Bunny took great pride in her relationship with each of her kids and talked to them all on the phone every day. Bunny never missed a birthday and would call all of her loved ones with their very own rendition of “Happy Birthday” every year in her signature, perfect pitch. As one of her children left a visit with her, she would always say, “Let it ring once.”

Marie is survived by her beloved husband of 68 years, Raymond James DiPirro. She is the daughter of the late Frank and Margaret (Ronayne) O’Brien, the cherished mother of Raymond E. of Nashua, N.H., James and wife Mary of Melrose, David and wife Cheryl of Peabody, Michael and wife Catherine of Melrose, Stephen and wife Christine of Hooksett, N.H., Christopher and wife Mary of Lynn, Marie Bellavance of Amherst, N.H., and Lisa Scacchi and husband John of Goffstown, N.H. She was deeply loved by her grandchildren Phillip, Matthew, Jennifer, Daniel, Thomas, Joseph, Michael, John, Mitchell, Olivia, David, Jack, EJ, Emily, Hallie, Gracien, Walter, and Theresa. Marie was also the proud great-grandmother to Jameson, Anna, the late James, Lucas, Julia, Benjamin, and Rory. She is survived by her brother Gene O’Brien and wife Mary and her sister Patsy O’Brien, and predeceased by her siblings William, Helen, Francis, Edith, Daniel, Virginia, Harold, Jeanne, and Claire. She is also survived by many cherished nieces and nephews and their families.

Visitation was held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St. Melrose on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, from 4 – 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Mary’s Church, 9 Herbert St. Melrose on Thursday, March 30,2023, at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends were respectfully invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas PL., Memphis, TN 38105.

To sign online condolence, visit www.gatelyfh.com