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Marilyn Cervigni

Obituary for Marilyn Cervigni

February 3, 2021
Avondale, Arizona


Shortly after cremation, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 1:00 pm, a Holy Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in the church where Marilyn worshiped during the last eight years of her life: Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, AZ.

A Holy Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at the Holy Family Church in Rockland, MA, on June 7 at 9:00 am on June 7, 2021, to be followed by the burial at the Holy Family Cemetery, in a plot close to the remains of Marilyn's sister Helen.


Marilyn Elizabeth Cervigni, née Callahan, passed away peacefully in the morning of January 1, 2021, around 9:30 am. Her husband of 47 years, Dino Cervigni, was at her side, holding her hands and praying. Her niece Kathleen Regele had just said goodbye to her, while the oldest niece, Deborah Dodge, with her family, prayed together with Dino on video during Marilyn's last moments on Earth and her passing to a new life, according to our Christian faith.

Marilyn was born in the Boston area into a traditional, religious Irish family. Her parents were Joseph Callahan and Helen Noonan. Her brother, Joseph Callahan, Sr., survives her, while her sisters Patricia, Barbara, and Helen predeceased her.

Marilyn attended Catholic elementary, middle, and high school. She earned a bachelor's degree in education and for many years she taught first, second, and third graders: one of her life's greatest and most cherished experiences.

Marilyn's life changed when she met her husband and married. From that moment on, she was the most devoted wife. They moved to Bloomington, IN, where Marilyn taught as her husband completed his education. They then moved to South Bend, IN, where she pursued another passion, helping students and faculty as assistant librarian at the University of Notre Dame, while her husband taught.

From cold South Bend, IN, in 1989 the couple moved to Chapel Hill, NC, where Marilyn pursued several professional interests while her husband taught at the University. Here Marilyn found her true love and vocation: volunteering several times a week, for 15 years, at the Emergency Room of the main Hospital on campus. Her passion to help others continued and became greater when the couple retired to Goodyear, AZ, at the end of 2012. Shortly afterward, she began volunteering at the Cancer Treatment of America, where she lovingly helped patients in the Infusion Room several times a week.

The onslaught brought about by Covid-19 put an end to her life's greatest passion and accelerated her decline. Even during the last weeks of her life, she kept telling nurses and caregivers: I have got to go and work. That is: I must go and help sick people.

Marilyn was a religious person and loved‒and loves‒God and the Church. During the many trips to Italy to visit her husband's family, one of her greatest joys was to attend the Holy Mass at Saint Peter's in Rome. She loved her siblings and all her relatives. She was particularly fond of her brother, Joe, his four sons, their children, and grandchildren, as well as her nieces, their children, and grandchildren, whom she visited every summer and at Christmas time. She also became attached to her husband's Italian family, who welcomed and loved her. At home, she entertained graciously friends, neighbors, and even strangers, preparing meals for dozens of people.

Hers has been a life of devotion, love, and service: devotion to her husband; love for all her siblings, relatives, the children she taught, the college students she helped, and all her co-workers; and passion and compassion for the people she served during her twenty-two years of volunteering.

Marilyn, you will always be in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers.

Arrangements By

Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home

135 Union Street
Rockland, MA 02370
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