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On October 18, 2023, Julia Pennisi Taylor, 77, passed away peacefully at her longtime home in Tewksbury, MA, where she was surrounded by her devoted family. She is survived by her loving husband, Paul, with whom she shared 51 years of marriage, and their daughter, Julianne. Julia loved being a mother and beamed with pride when she spoke of her daughter. She was also closely bonded to her sister, Frances, who supported her throughout her life.
Proud to be born in Lawrence, MA, Julia was the oldest daughter of the late John V. Pennisi and Assunta (Sue) Licciardi Pennisi. She was predeceased by her brother, Anthony Pennisi and infant sister, Mary Pennisi. Julia was always a caring sister and from a young age she was a caregiver to her younger siblings, Anthony and Frances. She loved her childhood pets and was especially fond of her childhood dog, Ginger.
Julia graduated from Holy Rosary Grammar School and St. Mary’s High School in Lawrence, MA. She continued her education at Lowell State Teachers College (now UMass Lowell) and received an undergraduate degree in elementary education in 1968. This was followed by advanced degrees (Masters and C.A.G.S.) at the same college, allowing her to become a reading specialist. She was a devoted member of Pi Lambda Theta, an education honor society committed to academic excellence and the teaching profession. During her entire education, she made many lifelong friends.
Julia was a dedicated and respected educator and reading specialist for 36 years in the Haverhill Public School system. She taught hundreds of children with reading challenges in several elementary schools throughout the district. Julia was a mentor to numerous teachers in the district as she truly believed in helping colleagues advance in their field. She had a special bond with a number of colleagues and maintained those friendships throughout her life. Julia retired in 2006 from Bradford Elementary School.
Julia was a lifelong, faithful member of Holy Rosary Parish in Lawrence, MA. She enjoyed practicing her Catholic faith serving as a eucharistic minister, as a member of the St. Rita’s Sodality, and as a member of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality. Julia believed in the power of prayer and healing for loved ones, parishioners, and those she barely knew.
Julia will be deeply missed by her husband, Paul, their daughter, Julianne Taylor-Ruggiero, and Julianne’s husband, Anthony Ruggiero. She will also be greatly missed by her sister, Frances Puglisi, her godmother & aunt, Carmelina (Licciardi) Pierro, her nieces, nephew, godchildren, cousins, and friends.
Julia will be remembered as a humble, gracious, and remarkable woman. She always put the needs of others first, especially those who were elderly or sick. Julia often cooked for the family on many holidays and enjoyed vacations with them. Her legacy of love, compassion, and generosity will live on through the countless lives she touched.
Julia courageously battled Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer for three years. The family would like to thank Dr. Douglas Rubinson, her oncologist at Dana Farber, and the other doctors on her team as well as the medical staff providing excellent medical care, treatment, and support. Julia often thought of the medical staff as her friends as she battled cancer during the Covid epidemic.
Relatives and friends are cordially invited to visiting hours on Monday, October 23, 2023, from 4pm to 7pm at Dewhirst Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen. A funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at 1:30pm at Holy Rosary Shrine, Lawrence, everyone please meet at church. Followed by the interment at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Julia’s memory to: Holy Rosary Shrine, 34 Common St., Lawrence, MA 01840 or to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA, 02284, email: dana-farber.org/gift.
For online condolences please visit www.dewhirstbolesfuneral.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Dewhirst Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844.