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William Ronald Massidda, 92, of York, Maine passed away August 17, 2023 at his home with his wife and sons by his side. He was born February 20, 1931 in Lynn, MA to Vera and Joseph Massidda.
He grew up in Swampscott, MA and attended the University of Massachusetts where he met the love of his life, Mary. During summers in college he worked as a lifeguard at Ogunquit Beach. He graduated during the Korean War, and joined the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain. After his service he resided in Wilbraham, MA and worked for Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. where he became the Director of Group Pension Sales. He developed a motivational program based on the “Music Man” musical, which he performed in major cities all over the country. Eventually he broadened his speeches for general audiences and was invited to speak all over the world receiving requests from the Chamber of Commerce, Life Underwriters’ Association, and the Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation for high school sophomores, as well as many other service clubs and sales organizations.
In 1966 he acquired his own firm, Pension Associates, and as an actuary, provided retirement plans for employees of businesses throughout western New England. Among his clients were Friendly’s Ice Cream and State Line Potato Chips from which he would bring home a trunk-load of chips. He would also enjoy a large bowl of Friendly’s ice cream almost every night. During the oil embargo, the ex marine (?) would often park his car in the line at the gas station several hours before they opened and go for a run. After returning to his car, he’d get his suit on, gas up and go on the road to meet with his clients the old-fashioned way, face-to-face. He loved his work.
Bill had a beautiful baritone voice, and music was a large part of his life. For many years he served as Cantor at St Cecilia’s Church in Wilbraham, impressing everyone with his enthusiasm as he sang from the pulpit. Once on a dreary day, when the parishioner’s vocals were spiritless during a hymn, he stopped in the middle of the song to give an impromptu admonishment to the congregation after which they sang much better, though Mary was embarrassed for weeks. His ethos was from the prophesy “God respects me when I work but He Loves me when I sing”. In 2010, he retired to York, Maine and sang with the Seacoast Community Chorus.
Bill and Mary raised 3 boys, treated them equally, enjoyed attending their sporting events and sent all three to college. He consistently went jogging and participated in some triathlons. He loved to cook and loved to eat, and loved to toil in his vegetable garden at home to create farm-to-table meals often for friends and family. His selfless care was over the top, always running out to the car anytime guests were about to drive home to make sure seatbelts were being worn and imploring the driver to drive slowly, although he himself once accumulated so many speeding tickets he lost his license for several months.
When his youngest boy was an infant, a serious fire broke out in their home. Despite the house being engulfed in flames, Bill ran back into the house twice to save his sleeping children. On his second sortie into the burning house, unable to see and about to pass out from the smoke, he finally felt the baby in the back corner of his crib and grabbed him like “a sack of potatoes” then slid down the stairs on his back with flames in his face. The fire chief said there was no way he should have survived a 2nd rescue effort all the way up and back down the stairs.
Bill served in many community organizations, including the United Way, Child Guidance Clinic, the YMCA-being chosen “Layman of the Year” in 1973, the Springfield Symphony, Visiting Nurses’ Association, Library trustee and over 50 years in the Rotary. He was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and gave speeches on behalf of the Churches Task Force for Peace, which urged people to engage in an open dialogue and contact their congressman to help end the controversial conflict. He spoke from the pulpit in churches, service clubs and even on TV, criticizing both the Democratic and Republican administrations concerning the conduct of the Vietnam War.
Later he fought for equal marriage rights for the LGBTQ community in Massachusetts and Maine, giving speeches, seminars and providing positive commentary on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in 2003 allowing same gender marriage. He gave many speeches in Maine until, in 2012, Maine and two other states were the first to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Bill is survived by Mary, his wife of 70 years, his three sons James, Douglas, and John, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be held Friday, September 1st, 2023, at the First Parish Cemetery in York, Me. at 11:00am followed by a celebration of Bills life at Bill and Mary’s home, 127 York St, York Me.
Flowers can be sent to Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home, 91 Long Sands Road, York, Me. 03909
Bill was persistent in his efficaciousness, so it is certain everyone who knew him has a story or anecdote that is as rare a gem as he was. To commemorate these memories, we will invite you share them at the house, and or send to Grandpamemory2023@gmail.com where it will be downloaded to a google drive for everyone to access. We recognize all that he did in life would not have been possible without his wife Mary. These documented memories will be a lasting gift from all to her.