DiGiovanni, Mary Frances (Travers) – of Reading, Oct. 9th, 2021. Beloved wife of 58 years to Joseph DiGiovanni. Devoted Mother of Diane DeLaney and her husband Dennis of the North End, Joseph DiGiovanni, III and his wife Daniela of New Hampshire, Karen DeAngelis and her husband David of Groton and Mark DiGiovanni and his wife Maureen of Maine. Cherished Grandmother of Sean, Steven, Maximilian, James, Joseph Vincent, Joseph Andrew, Cecilia, Mia, Sofia, Veronica, Owen and Grace. Loving sister of Julia Angers of Worcester, Magdalene White of Webster and the late Patricia Serra and John Travers. Sister-in-law of Anna Kissinger and Richard Serra. Mary is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Mary’s career as a Professor and Program Coordinator of the Human Services Program at Northern Essex Community College spanned over 50 years. She served as President of the Council for Standards in Human Service Education and she was instrumental in the development of a nationalized human services field with standardized competencies and credentialing for human service professionals. She is also credited with developing one of the first human services degree programs in the country for Northern Essex. In 2009 Mary authored the monograph Council for Standards in Human Service Education Legacy: Past, Present & Future documenting the development of the Human Services field in the United States. Her passion in life was teaching and advocating for people with disabilities. Mary is a graduate of St Vincent Hospital School of Nursing in Worcester, MA and Boston College where she earned both a BS degree in Nursing as well as a Master’s degree in Community Mental Health.
In addition to her work as an educator, Mary was an active member in numerous professional organizations advocating for individuals with disabilities. She served as a Board of Director member for many years with Turning Point, Inc, in Newburyport, a non-profit organization committed to providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mary received many awards and national recognition for her contributions to the field of human services.
Mary’s Catholic faith and her family were the center of her life. She was proud of both her Irish and Joe’s Italian heritage. She painstakingly compiled a family history dating back generations on both sides of their family. She wanted to preserve the amazing American story of the families modest yet proud immigrant roots and to document how from simple beginnings the family has thrived and grown. Mary loved to travel with Joe to Italy, Ireland, and Scotland to visit the towns and villages of their ancestry. She also was fond of traveling with her children on vacations each year to destinations domestic and abroad. It was a major focus for her that the family get together on holidays to celebrate life. She arranged family reunions every year so that she could ensure her twelve grandchildren, who she loved so dearly, could all be together. Her love of God, family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors was boundless. While Mary will be missed terribly, her memory will never fade from all of those whose lives she touched so deeply.
Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral Mass at St. Athanasius Church, 300 Haverhill St., Reading, MA on Friday, October 15th, at 10am. Visiting hours will be held at the Cota Funeral Home, 335 Park St., North Reading, MA on Thursday, October 14th from 4 to 8pm. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Mary DiGiovanni Human Services Scholarship at Northern Essex Community College. Gifts made to this scholarship will honor Mary’s legacy of educating Human Services professionals and will benefit not only the recipients, but the lives of all those touched by their care. Donations can be made via check or online (necc.mass.edu/giving) to: The NECC Foundation, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill, MA 01830. Please write (The Mary DiGiovanni Human Services Scholarship) on the memo line or in the comments for online giving.
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