Anita A. (Berthiaume) Gemme, 87, died at her home in West Millbury on Monday, July 27 after a long illness. She was the wife of the late Raymond G. Gemme, her childhood sweetheart, to whom she was married for 50 years.
She was born in Middletown, Connecticut, daughter of the late Horace A. and Aline J. (Rock) Berthiaume. She attended Assumption School in Millbury, the Assumption Boarding School in Nicolet, Quebec, and Millbury High School. Prior to her marriage she was a department manager at W.T. Grant Department Store in Worcester and later worked as the church secretary at Assumption Church in Millbury where she was a lifelong member.
Anita’s gentle but strong spirit inspired and upheld family and friends. She was an artist and a poet, deftly combining these talents to create eagerly anticipated Christmas cards which became a cherished tradition. She possessed a tremendous capacity for empathy, easing burdens and lifting spirits with her insightful hand-written letters and reassuring conversations. She found strength, delight and wisdom in the tranquility of nature, from the solace of the ocean with its “soothing rhythm of the tides—a place where God reaches me to my inner-most being” to the treasured flower gardens that she devotedly nurtured. And she was most content when caring for her family.
She will be lovingly missed by her 5 children: Terese M. Gemme of Hamden, CT, Claire A. Messier and her husband, Paul, of North Uxbridge, Marie A. Loftus and her husband, Timothy, of North Grafton, and twin sons: Paul R. Gemme and his wife, Doreen (Porra) Gemme, of Brookfield, and John R. Gemme and his wife, Shelly (Madrid) Gemme, of Fountain Valley, CA; 4 beloved grandchildren: Christian P. Gemme and Elijah P. Gemme, both of Brookfield, and Emily Rose Loftus and Timothy J. Loftus, both of North Grafton; a sister, Marie A. (Ria) Garriepy of West Boylston; many nephews, nieces and cousins; and the compassionate caregivers and hospice workers who tended her in recent years. She was predeceased by her sister Paula Berthiaume and her brother Adrien Berthiaume.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 A.M. on Friday, July 31 at Assumption Church, 10 Waters Street, Millbury. Masks must be worn and social distancing will be in effect. Burial will follow in West Millbury Cemetery. There are no calling hours. Turgeon Funeral Home, 56 N. Main Street, Millbury, has charge of the arrangements.
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