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Consigli Ruggerio Funeral Home

Marie J. Parente,

    Former Milford Selectwoman and longtime Massachusetts State Representative, Marie J. Parente, died on Friday, September 20, 2019 after a brief illness.  Marie spent most of her life in public service and her career is the stuff of an American success story.             

    Born to Italian immigrant parents, Raffaele and Josephine (DiMaria) Longhi, in Springfield, Massachusetts, she was the only girl of their five children.  In 1932, tragedy struck the family when both Josephine and Raffaele became ill and Raffaele’s business became a victim of the Great Depression.      

    The Longhi children, Carmino, 12 Daniel, 10, Joseph, 8, Marie, 4, and Simoni, 2, were separated, placed in foster care and would not be reunited until adulthood. Marie was the luckiest of the children, as she was placed in the foster care of James and Mary Manella in Milford, who loved her and treated her as one of their own.  Marie was an excellent student in the Milford public schools and lived in Milford the rest of her life. At the tender age of 17, she married Francis “Babe” Parente and they remained together until her death.  They had two children, a daughter, Angela Brucato and a son, Christopher.                 

    Marie was a secretary at Seaver’s Express in Milford for many years.  In the 1960’s and 70’s, she learned that she had a passion for public service.  She became active in local politics, first, by supporting candidates, and next, as a member of the Concerned Citizens which worked to strengthen the zoning laws, land use, planning and responsive leadership. In 1972, she was elected as the first woman Selectman in Milford’s history.  In that position, she was a tireless worker and strong advocate for the townspeople for nine years (1973-1981).  During her tenure, Milford had tremendous growth.  To accommodate the growth, Marie and her fellow selectmen made town counsel a full time position.  Under their leadership town meeting enacted and strengthened zoning and land planning laws.  Industrial Parks were created to attract business and industry.  She and her fellow selectmen were instrumental in luring national companies to Milford by giving them tax incentives. In 1980, she was elected as a State Representative in the Massachusetts House and served there until 2006.  At the state house Marie was a strong supporter of the state’s foster care system.  She was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Foster Care and helped numerous children achieve their goals.  She was famous throughout the legislature and the state for her meticulous preparation on all the issues and passion for the causes of foster children, local government, the pro-life movement and fiscal conservatism.  Her colleagues always knew where Marie stood on an issue.  She never backed down on something she believed in. She always knew the facts and issues and was always prepared to argue them in the committee rooms and on the floor of the House. She was a sponsor of over 200 bills which became laws. Marie was instrumental in the town of Milford’s purchase of the State Armory and then worked diligently in helping to make that building the Milford Youth Center. In her spare time, she obtained both a Bachelor (1986) and a Master’s Degree (1991) from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

    She was a communicant at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church and a member of Sons of Italy, Lodge No. 1356; Upton Grange (4th degree); Upton Women's Club; Milford Jr. Women's Club; Massachusetts Municipal Association; and Massachusetts Citizens for Life.  She was also a member of the County Comm. Advisory Board; Worcester County Legislative Committee; Massachusetts Selectmen's Association and Joint Labor-Management Team.

    She is survived by her husband of over 75 years, Francis A. Parente, a daughter, Angela M. Brucato, three grandchildren, C.J. Brucato, Lisa M. Burns and Mary Marini and five great grandchildren, Georgia Brucato, Grace Brucato, Gemma Brucato, Madelyn Burns and Ryan Burns. She was predeceased by her son, Christopher Parente, and her four brothers.

    The funeral will be held Tuesday October 1, 2019 at 9 A.M. from the Consigli-Ruggerio Funeral Home 46 Water St. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 A.M. at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church 5 East Main St. The burial will follow in the parish cemetery.  Calling hours will be on Monday from 4 to 8 P.M.

Guest Book

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. She was a very great lady, and i am proud to have known her. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
sandy obrien

Our Deepest Sympathies. Marie and Babe we're meant to be together "Forever".
Stammy and Billy Coniaris. Pete's Bluebird

I hd the pleasure of working with Marie Parente in the House of Reps. She was a wonderful woman and treated my staff and myself to many porketta dinners delivered and served by Babe.
Patty Foley former House Bus. Mgr

My Dear Aunt Marie you will be so greatly missed. You and Uncle Babe were at every celebration and funeral with amazing stories to tell and to show your love and support. I was always so proud to tell everyone you were my Aunt. You lived an amazing life helping others.
Emily and Micheal LaFountaine and family

Marie was a Icon in Milford , Boston and the Blackstone Valley always there for her constituents .
Marian G. Baker

I served with Marie in the House for 14 years. I was honored when she asked me to join her Foster Children’s Committee. Originally it was made up of representatives who were foster children. She realized that education was an integral part of caring for these children and she wanted me to join her because I had been a teacher who had dealt with foster kids during my teaching career . She also added one of our colleagues who was a nurse because she knew that good health care was another necessity for foster kids. Marie was tenacious in her fights for the welfare and the rights for foster children. Rest In Peace Marie. Job well done Marie. You were a good and faithful servant.
Carol Donovan, Retired State Rep Woburn

I remember years ago Mrs. Parente coming down to Stacy Middle School and Middle School East to talk about her path to Selectman. She was very well spoken and left a lasting impression on me as I grew. Sorry for your loss and she will be missed.
Megan W

What a wonderful inspiring life story. I did not know Marie Parente personally but she influenced the lives of so many people. A shining example to all who were blessed to be part of her family and fortunate to have her dedicated representation. Sincere condolences to her family for your loss.
Diana Merullo

You were always there for your constituents, Marie!
Kevin Rudden

My Dear Friend and State Representative, thank you for all that you did for the public safety of our towns. I wish that we had more like you. Rest in Peace Marie.
Scott Garland

Thank you Marie for all you did for my daughter Gina, I will remember you always. RIP Dear Lady. Gina’s mom.🙏🦋😇❤️
Rita Piso

Marie was a tireless champion of foster children. She was a fearless, selfless public servant. I was proud to know her and to vote for her many times. A great loss to our town, state and country.
Kayle Martino

We are so sorry for the passing of Marie she was such a nice lady and will be missed Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. may she RIP,
Doris and Tommy Ortla

Marie was an icon. She spoke with passion, articulation and sure did do her homework. Indeed, I fondly remember her jokes that were often a part of her speeches. She sure broke the glass ceiling and her successes and commitment to serving Milford and all her constituents cab still be seen today. She was a good friend of my parents and to so many. If you knew Marie you knew she could hold her own in any debate. She was a fierce and passionate legislator who left her mark. My condolences to her family and friends.
Karen Villani

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work for Marie Parente as a member of her staff. She taught me so many lessons that I carry with me to this day. A true public servant, she represented Milford with honor and distinction, and never forgot her roots. Her legacy is seen in the faces of the thousands of children and families whose lives she touched. They are her monument.
Geoff Richelew

Thank you Marie for your dedication to the residents of Milford and the surrounding towns. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Patricia Curley

The First Lady of Milford has passed after a very eventful life. I remember her way back to her years as a select woman and then state rep. Everybody knew her by just "Marie", she worked hard everyday and loved Milford. Marie changed Milford for the better.
Ed Thompson

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