Fitchburg- Claire M. (LaFray) Rollo, 99, passed into eternal life on Saturday, September 11, 2021 in HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster.
Claire was born in Newark, NJ on February 3, 1922, the devoted daughter of the late Frank and Clara (Loriot) LaFray. She was the dedicated wife of her beloved husband, Dr Quintino Rollo who unexpectedly died in 1996 soon after they celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Claire was the mother of 12 children, six of whom were lost during pregnancy and six of whom are living; Dr. John Rollo and his wife Anne of Desperes, MO, Dr. Mark Rollo and his wife Annette of Fitchburg, Dr. Frank Rollo and his wife Stephanie of Queensbury, NY, James Rollo and his wife Rhonda of Norfolk, VA, Paul Rollo and his wife Margaret of Leicester, MA and Leslie Ann Capoccia and her husband Jerome of Newport, RI. Her legacy includes 20 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Claire was a graduate of the University of Vermont where she majored in English. She was a skiing enthusiast and while attending UVM she was a member of the ski patrol at nearby “Big Bromley.” One of her favorite memories of UVM was attending a lecture by famed poet Robert Frost from whom she obtained an autographed book of collected poems.
She began her teaching career at Burr & Burton Academy, Manchester, Vermont. This was followed by teaching English, Greek and French at Leominster High School. She also taught in Indianapolis, Indiana while her husband attended medical school. She was a talented artist especially with respect to oil paintings and Claire was also adept at pencil sketching and the use of watercolors. At one point she had her art featured in the Fitchburg Art Museum. She loved music and enjoyed playing the piano and having her children take lessons. She was an active member of the Burbank Hospital Doctor’s Wives Guild and helped plan the annual Hospital Fair. Always an avid learner, she attended Fitchburg State University Adult Learning in the Fitchburg Area (ALFA) well into her eighties and obtained a computer at age 80 and an iPad at age 85. She delighted in emailing her Grandchildren from coast to coast and liked following them on Facebook.
Claire was an ardent Catholic and a longtime member of St. Anthony of Padua Church of Fitchburg. Her faith meant everything to her and this was reflected by her many years of teaching in religious education and having been a tremendous advocate for the pro-life cause. She raised her family in the Catholic faith and transmitted strong pro-life convictions. She was a founding member of the Family Life Center of Fitchburg which is now Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center on Main St in Fitchburg. Claire was also a member of the Fitchburg-Leominster Chapter of Massachusetts Citizens for Life from which she received a life time achievement award.
Claire had a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother. At age 79 she went on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Medjugorgie, Bosnia-Herzegovina, leaving on her flight hours before the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Upon her return, her silver rosary had turned to gold. She landed back in the USA days later to a country in mourning with thousands of American flags displayed throughout the land.
Fittingly, Claire left on her final pilgrimage 20 years later on September 11, 2021.
She and her family are very grateful to the staff of The Gables of Fitchburg Assisted Living Facility as well as her many personal attendants who gave her loving care. The family also extends their appreciation to the Emergency Room and Hospital Staff of HealthAlliance Hospital Leominster.
Claire’s funeral Mass will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 11am at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 84 Salem St., Fitchburg. Burial will follow in St. Bernard Cemetery, Fitchburg. There are no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, 529 Main St., Boston, MA 02129, Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center, 515 Main St. #1000 Fitchburg, MA 01420 or to St. Anthony of Padua Church 84 Salem St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.
The Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli and the Fitchburg Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes, 243 Water St. Fitchburg has been entrusted with the care of Claire’s arrangements. To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit our website at www.masciarellifamilyfuneralhomes.net
John F. Masciarelli, James M. Hebert and Terresa Shea, Funeral Directors.
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