Cover photo for Anne M. Zarrella's Obituary
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1961 Anne 2022

Anne M. Zarrella

April 3, 1961 — October 3, 2022

Anne M. Zarrella passed away at home surrounded by family on October 3rd after a brief illness. She was born in Fitchburg on April 3, 1961 to Grace (Celona) and Mario Zarrella. She was a graduate of St. Bernard’s High School, class of 1979 and Emmanuel College, class of 1983.

She began her professional career in 1983 at The Fernald School in Waltham followed by positions at Honeywell Bull and Research Results.  She worked with the Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst where she completed all coursework for a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning.  She spent the past 21 years at the Harvard University Press in Cambridge where she was admired, respected and loved dearly.  She was a talented, intuitive, and creative writer, volunteering for several years covering local planning issues for many local newspapers.

Anne was a voracious reader and pursued knowledge throughout her life.  In recent years, her coursework at Harvard revolved around all things to do with Italian culture, history and literature.  A talented cook, she was the go-to gourmet for friends and family, preparing fabulous feasts for all.  She was a passionate patron of the arts, an advocate for disadvantaged youth and women’s causes and always found time to volunteer for any of these causes.  Among them, she served as a literacy volunteer, a longtime ambassador and board member of the Boston Ballet and the MJT Dance Company, a guide at the Gropius House in Lincoln MA and a volunteer at National Democratic Conventions for the last 30 years.  She had an adventurous heart, traveling throughout the world and shared many amazing life experiences with her friends.  She knew how to have fun, cherish her friends and family, and share her heart with others.  Her endless smile warmed our hearts, even through the worst of her illness.

She was predeceased by her parents, Mario and Grace Zarrella.  Anne devoted so much of her adult life to their care and comfort and is happily reunited with them.  She is survived by her brother John Zarrella and his wife, Victoria, and her sister Angela Saball and husband Alan, all of Fitchburg. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews, Anthony Zarrella and wife Elizabeth, Michael Zarrella and wife Jessica, Elliot Saball, Lily Saball, William Saball, Anne Saball, and Stephanie Saball, and three great-nieces, Miriam, Juliette and Samantha Zarrella. She is also survived by her Aunt and Godmother, Marianne Celona, her Uncle Frank Celona, her Aunt Gloria Hand, her Uncle and Aunt Lawrence and Bruna Zarrella, and many cousins and countless friends.  She would also want to have mentioned her beloved fur-babies, Phoebe, Stream, Sadie and Izzie.

Her family is grateful for the care provided by her caregivers from the French Connection in her difficult last week, Maria, John, Kristina and Kathy and by the dedicated hospice nurses from CareCentral VNA & Hospice, Ron, Diane, Stephanie and Taylor.  Her longtime friend Sandy was an angel caregiver in her last hours as she was ushered into paradise.

“Annie” was an angel on earth for all who encountered her and will be forever missed.  She lived a full life with family and friends who respected her, admired her and loved her so much.  She left this earth clearly a better place.

The funeral Mass is Monday, October 10th, at 11:00 A.M. at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 84 Salem Street, Fitchburg. Burial will follow at St. Bernard’s Cemetery.  Calling hours are on Sunday from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Road, Fitchburg.

For those wishing to virtually attend Anne’s funeral, the Mass will be live-streamed on the St. Anthony Facebook page.  Please go to and click on the blue Facebook “F” icon to the far right on the page.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area, c/o Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main Street, 2nd floor, PO Box 7197, Fitchburg, MA  01420
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Anne M. Zarrella, please visit our flower store.


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