Mary Alice Lamenzo

Mary Alice Lamenzo, the youngest of six children born to Alice M. and John B. Lamenzo, passed suddenly from this life Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Warner, N.H., where she resided since 1971.

Mary Alice attended Highland Park and St. James schools in Manchester and graduated from East Catholic High School in 1966. She received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from New England College of Henniker, N.H., in 1971. While at New England College, Mary Alice focused her studies on educational philosophy and practice. As such, she traveled to Europe on several occasions to participate in comparative education programs. Much of her personal and educational philosophy was based on the work of Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Schools), and the model for the British Infant School. In 1971, Mary Alice accepted a position as a Head Start teacher and the learning disabilities specialist at the Simonds School in Warner, N.H. This initial teaching assignment was the beginning of Mary Alice's long and rewarding career. To further her credentials, Mary Alice received, in 1976, her master's degree in education from Keene State College of Keene, N.H. In addition to teaching and counseling children (especially children with special needs) along with their families in the Warner, N.H., school system, Mary Alice taught, part-time, in the child development program at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. She was a valued private education consultant, focusing on the challenges faced by youngsters and their families. Mary Alice became a mentor to many new educators, which resulted in lifelong and valued friendships. Each of her students held a special place in her heart, and she remembered every one long after they were grown with children of their own. A notable achievement in Mary Alice's life was her discovery and use of drumming in assisting children as they grew out of their youthful challenges in life. It was very clear to Mary Alice that drumming appeared to unlock the mind-based barriers that many children experienced, and, as such, reoriented their potential for learning and experiencing a more beneficial life as young adults. Mary Alice expanded and shared her drumming skills and interest by becoming a founder and/or member of numerous socially conscious drumming and musical groups and organizations throughout New Hampshire. She volunteered at the Hospice Center and the Merrimack County Retirement Home in New Hampshire, providing drumming and singing to the residents. In 2003, after many fruitful and satisfying years, Mary Alice entered an exciting and fulfilling retirement. Mary Alice was many things to many people. Above all, she made each and every person she connected with feel special and important. She motivated everyone to be their best. She lived a full, expansive, and deliberately purposeful life, allowing all to feel her kind and generous spirit, which family, friends, and acquaintances alike will treasure throughout their lives. She succeeded in her desire and dedication to provide for the children in her care with a holistic experience in the art of living, learning, and creating. In her words, "The idea is to journey inward and share the beauty of who we are through various art forms." Mary Alice's sincere desire was to enhance the prospects of a peaceful world by living, learning, and creating in a loving and peaceful way.

Mary Alice will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She leaves behind a legacy of love, understanding, and generosity to one and all, especially her brothers and sister, Marshall E. Lamenzo, and his wife, Jean, of Manchester, Claire Ann Oakley, and her husband, Francis, of Williamstown, Mass., David A. Lamenzo, and his wife, Janet, of Bloomfield, and John M. Lamenzo of Santa Fe, N.M. She is also survived by her many nieces and nephews and their spouses, Deirdre Oakley (husband Bernie Gerling) of Atlanta, Ga., Christopher Oakley (wife Dian) of Evanston, Ill., Timothy Oakley (wife Patcharee) of Orlando, Fla., Brian Oakley (wife Lisa) of Washington, D.C., Anthony Lamenzo of Rochester, N.Y., Catherine Lamenzo (husband Michael Stine) of Olympia, Wash., Christine Lamenzo (husband Jeremy Miller) of Toronto, Ontario, Amy Lamenzo (husband Brindo Brilli) of Florence, Italy, Jared Lamenzo (wife Ilona) of Brooklyn, N.Y., Julia Lamenzo (husband James Fox) of Arlington, Mass., Narangkar Glover (husband Peter Glover) of Oakland, Calif., and Siriji Lamenzo of Oakland, Calif. Mary Alice was a most beloved aunt to her 12 nieces and nephews and their children. She was there for each one in very personal ways with bountiful generosity of resources, time, and energy. May she rest in peace in the arms of our Lord who loves her, as do we!

Mary Alice was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Jean M. Lamenzo.

Private festive and celebratory memorials are being planned by Mary Alice's family in accordance with her wishes including a memorial Mass.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made in Mary Alice's (a kitten and cat lover her entire life) honor to Connecticut Cat Connections, 99 Poquonock Ave., Windsor, CT 06095; or to Mary's Kitty Corner Inc., 281 Salmon Brook St., Granby, CT 06035.

Published in Journal Inquirer from Sept. 14 to Sept. 18, 2013