Obituary : Ernest U. Curelli
Ernest Ubaldo Curelli, formerly of Beverly, Mass. and Beverly Hills, Fla., died January 25 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 87 years old. Ernie was predeceased by his loving wife of 56 years, Elena.
He was the son of Biaggio ("GiGi") and Fausta Donnaruma Curelli, who had emigrated from Italy. He was always proud to be part of a generation of first-borns in this country. He grew up in East Boston and graduated with the Boston College class of 1948.
His college years were interrupted when he was drafted by the Army Air Forces, serving as a Medical Corpsman during World War II, an experience that provided windows to history for his family and friends. This included vivid descriptions of flying over "The Hump" (the Himalaya Mountains) in a C47 "Gooney Bird" Transport Plane to bases in the China-Burma highlands. He was proud to aid his fellow soldiers as well as provide public health services to local communities. As a sign of gratitude, he was given a pair of chimpanzees, Cheetah and Zambi, that warned of any Bengal tigers approaching his tent. He also befriended many Ghurka soldiers while in India and Nepal. His brother Rocco served as a B24 and B17 pilot, his brother Rudy as a forward infantryman, all driven by pride, gratitude, and determination.
Ernie began a career as a Food Technologist working with Clarence Birdseye in the development of frozen foods, and later freeze-dried foods used in the military and aerospace programs. He also worked with the City of Beverly Board of Health. He promoted the work of fishermen and preservation of fishing grounds while a member of The New England Fisheries Institute.
Ernie was a quiet man, devoted to his wife and sons. Road trips throughout New England were as cherished as travels around the globe. He gave new meaning to the words "puttering around," enjoying his garden, and turning a few wrenches on his '54 Chevy. For many years his baritone voice could be heard in his church choir. Dancing the jitterbug brought his widest smile, even as recently as at his grandson's wedding.
The past two and a half years, Ernie lived with his sons and their families in Oak Bluffs and Wisconsin. His greatest pride was in the accomplishments of his four grandchildren, especially their college graduations. He shared with them the excitement of Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass, Patriots' Super Bowl wins, and two Red Sox World Series wins. He loved all animals, but was inseparable from Clover-Murphy and Shamrock, dogs that provided him constant amusement and devotion.
Ernie will be missed by his son John Curelli and his wife, Jane, of Oak Bluffs; his son Tom Curelli and his wife Susan, of Two Rivers, Wis.; his grandchildren Benjamin Curelli, of Boston; Nicholas Curelli and his wife, Nicole, of Oak Bluffs; Diane Curelli of Minnesota; and Stephen Curelli of Hancock, Mich. Ernie also leaves a brother, Rudy Curelli, of Marstons Mills, and a sister and brother-in-law, Gloria and Alan Mills of Sandwich. He was predeceased by his brother, Rocco Curelli. Ernie was especially grateful for the care and attention of his niece, Karen Nahill, and the nurses and doctors of MVH and MGH.
A funeral mass was held at St. Angela's Church, with interment at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. A memorial mass will be held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 10 am.
In lieu of flowers, Ernie would be happy that donations be sent to Christian Foundation For Children And Aging, One Elmwood Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66103.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.