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FRAMINGHAM – On Monday April 6, 2021, Mary A Mespelli, an educational visionary and longtime resident of Brookdale Senior Living Center in Framingham, passed away at the age of 96.

Mary was born in Framingham on May 19, 1924, to her beloved parents, Peter Mespelli and Angelina (Brandini) Mespelli. She was raised in the Italian neighborhood of Coburnville on Mellen Street in Framingham. She contracted polio at a young age, and through the encouragement of her parents and her own determination, Mary learned to live with and overcome the effects of the disease.

She graduated Framingham High School and rode the train with her braces on her legs to acquire degrees from Emmanuel College, and advanced degrees from Boston Teachers College.

Over several decades she served as a special ed teacher, Director of Special Education, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Framingham school system. 

Mary is credited with creating Framingham’s modern-day special education department and curriculum and participated in creating statewide regulations which were replicated across the country. She lectured at many national educational conferences on the subject. She retired in 1987.

Mary’s entrepreneurship, organizational skills, and desire to achieve remained with her when she moved into the Brookdale Assisted Living Center in 2005.

She served as President of the Resident Council and established many tenant activities which included the creation of an inhouse library which bears her name.

A town park on Bethany Rd in Framingham, formerly the site of the Apple Street Elementary School, and the school Mary attended as a child, also contains a monument dedicated to Mary’s life achievements.

Mary approached life as a gift and one-time opportunity to experience, achieve, and enjoy. She would never acknowledge the many life hardships presented to her.

Her spirit and inspiration will be missed by her many cousins, extended family, and friends.

The Family would like to thank the staff at Brookdale Assisted Living who undertook extraordinary measures for her care during her declining health.

Mary was faithfully committed to the Catholic Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ. There will be a funeral mass at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 held in her honor at St. Tarcisius Church, her family parish, 562 Waverly St. Framingham.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Norton Funeral Home, 53 Beech Street in Framingham.

Donations in Mary’s memory can be made to St. Jude Hospital Children’s Research Center on their website.

To leave a message of condolence and sign the online guest book, please visit

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.