Mildred Eleanor (Burgess) DiMascola, 94, of Gales Ferry, Connecticut most recently of Pocasset, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, died peacefully on February 28 with her daughter at her side and the big band sounds of Lawrence Welk playing softly in the background.
Millie was born during a hurricane on August 26, 1924 in Acushnet, Massachusetts to Lucy Eddleston Burgess and William Henry Burgess. An avid writer, Millie wrote of the love and respect she had for her parents.
“I guess I grew up in poverty, but I wasn’t aware of it. Our third floor walk-up, cold water flat was spotless. Lucy could perform miracles with .15 cents per pound of hamburger. The aroma of bread, cakes, pies and beans filled the air. Her sewing machine hummed while her magic fingers whipped up everything from pillowcases to bloomers.”
“William never complained about anything. He was the most honest and trusting soul I ever knew. His life was a tapestry that hangs on the historic walls of my mind. He kept the golden threads of life; fellowship, affection, and good will.”
Her memoir begins… “The archives of my life have been stored in my brain waiting for someone to attach a printer to this age-old computer. First, I must push a few buttons to search out ancient memories before I can spew out the whole story. A virus could wipe out my program. I pray a severe storm does not damage my electrical source before my work is completed. It contains part of the heritage I wish to pass on to my children.”
A United States Navy veteran, Millie served as a W.A.V.E from 1944 – 1946. She writes, “The recruiter told me I would have a choice of 3 schools to attend when I completed Boot Camp. I requested Control Tower Operator, they said it was full. My second choice was Link Trainer, teaching pilots how to fly, they said it was full. I did not have a choice, they sent me to Yeoman’s school (secretarial) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was a 2-year college course that we completed in 2 months!”
Mildred joined the Navy Reserves in 1949. She went to Campbell’s Secretarial School, in New Bedford, and spent a year at Salem State Teachers’ College, where she served as vice president of her freshman class, but said neither place taught her more than she had already learned at Yeoman school!
Married to Giovanni DiMascola on September 30, 1950, she often remarked on the happy time they spent together while they were stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from 1952 – 1954. She even wrote a play called Pssst, Pssst, Pssst, The Cuban Love Call, that was performed by This Wide & Universal Theatre Company in Mystic, Connecticut.
Shortly after the death of her husband, in 1963, Millie opened a nursery school at St. David’s Episcopal Church, in Gales Ferry, where she was one of the founding members. In 1989 she retired as an office manager in a civil service position on the U.S. Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut.
She is survived by her daughters, Sandra Brenciaglia, of Nova Scotia, Canada, and Donna Lima, of Pocasset, Massachusetts, and her grandson Sam Terra, of Dallas Texas. She is predeceased by her husband, Giovanni, and their son, John Michael.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 8th at 11:00 a.m. at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 284 Stoddard's Wharf Drive, Gales Ferry, Connecticut. Burial will be Saturday, March 9th at 10:00, St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Gifford St., Falmouth, Massachusetts.