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Dr. Leonard DiGregorio

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Dr.  Leonard DiGregorio Obituary
Dr. Leonard M. DiGregorio, 89

Southbridge - Dr. Leonard M. DiGregorio, 89, of 97 South St., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 4th, in his home surrounded by his family after a long illness.

His wife of 65 years, Vivian L. (Lippe) DiGregorio, passed away this past November. He leaves his three children, JoAnn Kass of Brimfield, Karen Walker and her husband Keith of New Braintree and Alan DiGregorio of Webster; his six grandchildren, Jason Kass and his wife Julie of West Hartford, Jamie Kass of Sturbridge, Azur Ostrowski and her husband Sean of Woodstock, CT, Michael Walker and his fiancé Ashley Davis of Wales, Loryn Walker of Dudley and Nicholas Walker of New Braintree; his eight great grandchildren, Joel Kass of Victorville, CA, Justin Richardson of Hubbardston, Jayden Kass of Sturbridge, Leah Kass and Alexander Kass of West Hartford, Ashley Palmerino, Madison Palmerino and Cameron Palmerino, all of Woodstock, CT; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Concetta Deterando, and his six brothers, Armond, Albert, William, Raymond, Richard and Ronald. He was born in Southbridge the son of the late Fileno and Maria (Sonsini) DiGregorio. Leonard was a 1947 graduate of Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, VA. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia where he received a BA in Psychology and a BA in Biology. He went on to receive his Doctorate in Optometry from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago in 1955. He also did post graduate studies at the University of Indiana. He was a member of the Omega Delta Fraternity. Leonard was also a boxer while attending Staunton Academy and at the University of Virginia and never lost a match.

Dr. DiGregorio started his optometry practice in Southbridge in 1955 and retired just this past year. He also had a part time practice in Oxford. He was the first optometrist in the area to have a testing device for early detection of Glaucoma. While starting his practice he also worked as a physicist in the research department of the American Optical Co. in Southbridge. For 15 years he served as a member of the State Board of Registration for Optometry and also served as its Chairman of the Board for a period of time. Leonard also served on the Board of Directors of the United Lens Co. in Southbridge and on the Board of Directors of Incom, Inc in Charlton; he served on the Board of Directors and former president of the Tri-Community YMCA in Southbridge and was the chairman of the Building Committee of the YMCA; he served on the Southbridge School Committee and was a member of the School Building Committee; he served on the Southbridge Charter Revision Committee; he was a former member of the Jaycees in Southbridge; and was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Southbridge. He was a lifelong dedicated parishioner of St. Mary's Church in Southbridge.

Leonard was a 60-year Privileged member of the Southbridge Lions Club in and served as its King Lion. Along with the Lions Club he started a preschool eye clinic giving free vision checks at the Southbridge Town Hall. He also volunteered his time every year with the Lions Club's Sight mobile at the Relay for Life event in Southbridge. Dr. DiGregorio was honored by the Lions Club with the prestigious Joseph Protano Founders Award and was also a recipient of the Lions Club's Joseph Camarda Award, the Lion of the Year Award and on an international level the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

Outside of his profession he had a passion for gardening and yard work. He enjoyed golfing, sailing, snow skiing with his good friend Al Aliberti. He also enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles and watching the Patriots and Red Sox.

Leonard enjoyed spending as much time possible at his beloved cottage at Bonnet Shores, Narragansett, RI. He often referred to it as his sanctuary for him and all his family.

His funeral Mass will be held on Friday, Sept. 7th at 10:00 am in St. Mary's Church of the St. John Paul II Parish, 263 Hamilton St., Southbridge. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Southbridge. There are no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Southbridge Lions Club Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 622, Southbridge, MA 01550.

The Daniel T. Morrill Funeral Home, 130 Hamilton St., Southbridge, is directing arrangements.

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Sept. 5 to Sept. 6, 2018
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