James Azzarito, 89, of Haverhill and formerly of Newburyport passed away Thursday, Jan. 8, at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, after a long struggle with lymphoma.
He was born in Haverhill July 11, 1925, son of the late Frank and Mary (Iuele) Azzarito. Azzarito graduated from Haverhill High School in 1943, and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII. After the war, he studied at Northeastern University and graduated with a degree in engineering. He worked for thirty years at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, designing nuclear submarines. Even while helping to raise five children, he was committed to serving his community. He cooked spaghetti and meatballs for the Belleville School fundraisers, taught swimming at the YWCA and first aid for the Red Cross, and he never hesitated to help a neighbor or a friend. His personal hobbies were many, as he loved to garden, play cards, and work with wood. He sketched and painted and was the family photographer at every event. He loved sports and, over the years, played water polo, tennis, and golf. More than anything else, James loved to cook and to feed the people he loved; friends and relatives will remember him for the chicken soup or lasagna that he served so often to visitors, or for the jars of jelly he pressed into their hands as they left the house.
Azzarito is survived by his wife of 57 years Ann (Smith) Azzarito of Haverhill, children Lori and her husband Craig Dubreuil of Springfield, Vt., Lisa and her husband James Jaser of Simsbury, Conn., James Azzarito Jr. and his wife Susan of New Canaan, Conn., Ann and her husband Thomas Schaefer of Groveland and Mary Azzarito and her husband Gus del Puerto of Salem, Mass.; he is survived by many nieces and nephews, and by his godchildren Amy Sevene and Susan Donahue, who sought to tend to his every need. He was very proud of his 12 grandchildren: Nicole, Christopher, Alex, Hanna, Jenna, Lyssette, Brooke, Nicholas, Collin, Emily, Michael and John. He was especially delighted about his first great grandchild, Logan.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend his calling hours Monday, Jan. 12, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the H.L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Home, 106 Summer St. Haverhill. Interment in St. James Cemetery will be private. Contributions in his memory may be made to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave. Boston, MA 02215 or at www.bidmc.org/Give-to-BIDMC.aspx.