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Sally Costello

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Sally Costello, 69, skilled translator, DAR regent, sacristan Sally Costello's love of languages took her on a lifelong adventure spanning five decades and stops at the French Embassy press service in New York, Radio Liberty in Munich, Linguistic Systems in Cambridge, and, finally, to Rockport where she operated a free-lance translation company for the past 20 years. Fluent in French, German and Russian, Sally's linguistic skills were matched by an unbending attention to detail and pursuit of perfection in translating complex technical, legal, and medical documents. Michael, her husband of 42 years, marveled at her uncanny ability to delve into unfamiliar subjects and, with the help of her dictionaries and the World Wide Web, produce exact texts in English. Working alone in her quiet office on Mill Lane in Rockport, Sally turned out over 500,000 words per year for clients ranging from Biogen and Genzyme to Chubb and Cisco to French Telecom and the World Bank. It was a perfect environment for the quintessential introvert, who shunned the limelight in favor of her family, her home, her dogs, and her work. In recent years though, Sally adopted a more public persona, devoting hours of service to the Cape Ann Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and to her adopted church in Rockport, St. Joachim's Parish, and, subsequently, Holy Family Parish. Sally joined the DAR in 2000 and became its regent in 2004, serving with distinction for six years and helping to resolve longstanding legal and financial issues related to the group's ownership of the Klein House. Her role in the church was even greater, evolving from routine duties as a Eucharistic Minister and Sunday collection counter to daily oversight of St. Joachim's from opening and closing the church to mass preparation and regular maintenance. Her faithful service to the parish and its clergy was an inspiration to many. Sally was born in 1942 in Ithaca, New York, the daughter of Barnard and Mildred Bissinger. She graduated from Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida in 1960 and four years later from the University of Florida with a B.A. in French and a minor in Russian. Within weeks, she was working in New York translating the speeches and press conferences of French President Charles De Gaulle. In 1967 she moved to Munich, Germany where she worked for Radio Liberty as a researcher and translator of Russian newspaper articles. In Munich, she met and married Michael, a policy analyst for Radio Free Europe. They lived abroad for seven years, and their first two children, Heather and Christopher, were born in Munich. They returned to the U.S. in 1974, settling in Andover, MA, where their third child, Sean, was born. Michael began what would be a 35 year career in Chamber of Commerce work, and in 1976 Sally started as a part-time translator for TransTek and later with Linguistic Systems. In 1979 the family moved to Rockport, MA where their fourth child Matthew was born in 1981. After working for five years as an in-house translator of French, German, and Russian for LSI, she opened her own agency in 1992. Sally was committed to the path of self- improvement and discovery. In the 1980's she was a leader in the Rockport PTO and the local Al-Anon chapter, and in 1987 earned an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in French language teaching. In the 1990's, she attended Course of Miracles classes and later taught the course in her home, earned a ham radio operator's license to pick up foreign language transmission from around the world, became skilled in reiki, and provided bereavement counseling for St. Joachim's. The marriages of Sean, Christopher, and Heather in the summer of 2000 opened a new era for Sally, and she took to being a mother-in-law and grandmother with delight. It is a tribute to Sally's strong faith and incredible will that so many of her experiences and accomplishments occurred after her cancer diagnosis in 1994. As Michael relates, she refused to allow the disease to dominate her life or dictate her path. "I don't believe in cancer, I believe in God." Enduring surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and arduous testing over an 18-year period, she never gave in to cancer or used it as an excuse. Indeed, most of the people who came in contact with her never knew of the disease. All were in awe of her great humility, radiant smile, and powerful and positive spirit. Besides husband Michael, Sally leaves four children and eight grandchildren: daughter Heather and husband Richard Sullivan of Pembroke and their daughter Holly and son Jack; son Christopher Costello and his wife Carmen of Rowley and their sons Patrick and Cohn and daughter Marisa; son Sean Costello and his wife Roxanne of Essex and their daughters Monique, Petrina, and Faith; and son Matthew Costello of Needham. She is also survived by her brother Steven Bissinger and his wife Trudi of Orlando Florida their daughter Leslie and her husband Eric Golden and their son Griffin; and two half sisters, Gail Garman and Karen Steinrock and their families in Pennsylvania. Sally was predeceased by her father Barnard Bissinger and her mother Mildred Mayer. Her funeral mass will be said on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joachim's Church, Holy Family Parish, in Rockport. Visiting hours will be on Sunday, June 24, 2012 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at Burgess and Mackey Funeral Home, 201 Main Street, Rockport, MA 01966. Online condolences may be given at www.greelyfuneralhome.com Memorial contributions may be made to the scholarship fund of the Cape Ann Chapter of the DAR, Cape Ann Savings Bank, 109 Main St., Gloucester, MA 01930 and to the oncology unit at Addison Gilbert Hospital, 298 Washington St., Gloucester, MA 01930.

Published in The Cape Ann Beacon from June 21 to June 28, 2012
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