Friday, May 23, 2008
A passionate contributor to her family and community
Phyllis A. Zinicola, 52, died on May 18 at her home on Sunset Road, after fighting lung cancer
since February 2006. She was a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend; a lawyer, a long-term contributor to her community, an avid and skilled quilter, knitter, and gardener, a capable home-repair artisan, and a crossword and acrostic puzzle fanatic. She fiercely loved and cared for her three daughters. She was loved in turn and will be missed terribly by her large family in the United States and in Italy.
Phyllis was born on March 23, 1956, in Schenectady, New York, the daughter of Louis and Lena Zinicola. She graduated from Harvard College in 1978 with a degree in history magna cum laude and from Georgetown Law School in 1982. She met Paul E. Morrison on a blind date in 1984. They married in 1987 and lived until 1997 in Medford, Massachusetts, where their daughters were born.
Phyllis was an attorney in the tax and real estate departments of the Boston law firm Goodwin Proctor LLP from 1982 until 1989 when her first daughter was a year old. She then devoted her excess energies to her community. She became president of the Hervey School PTA, raised funds and directed the building of a playground there, made a documentary about the experimental Hervey School (one classroom per grade), and was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on Education.
Phyllis and her family moved to Carlisle in August 1997, where within a month she started working as a reporter for the Carlisle Mosquito, covering a wide range of town boards and issues. In 2000, Phyllis joined the Forum staff writing several columns a year. Her last column was entitled “An Ethical Will” (April 11, 2008), in which she shared her battle with cancer, lessons for life, and her gratitude at having made the decision to spend time at home with her girls when they were young.
In 2000 Phyllis returned to working in Boston, first as an aide to Massachusetts State Senator Susan Fargo, then as a Staff Attorney in the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, a state agency promoting affordable housing. Her illness forced her to stop working in November 2007.
Phyllis worked long hours on behalf of Carlisle’s town government. She was appointed to the Carlisle Zoning Board of Appeals in 1998, and served until she began two elected terms on the Planning Board, starting in 2000. Phyllis applied her practical experience with real estate law and affordable housing development as the Planning Board’s representative to the Community Preservation Act Committee in 2003 and 2004, and as the Planning Board’s representative to the Benfield Task Force from 2004 until the Task Force finished in 2006. She brought a quiet and firm sense of fairness to the boards where she served. On some of the evenings when boards, committees, or task forces were not meeting, she was an enthusiastic member of two mother-daughter book groups with her daughters Ariel and Dixie, and she greatly enjoyed a monthly meeting of food and poetry lovers at John and Ann Ballantine’s.
She is survived by her husband, Paul Morrison, daughters Ariel, 19, Miranda, 16, and Dixie, 15; her mother Lena Zinicola of Schenectady, New York; her sisters Frances Zinicola of Niskayuna, New York, Joanne Merlo of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and Anne Dean of Chantilly, Virginia; her brothers Vince Zinicola of San Jose, California, and Anthony Zinicola of Herndon, Virginia, three aunts, eight cousins, and 18 nieces and nephews with whom she reveled in huge, boisterous “clan” reunions. Our world was so much greater when she was with us.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at the First Religious Society in Carlisle. For on-line directions and guestbook go to www.deefuneralhome.com. Phyllis asked that donations be made to the Carlisle Mosquito Fund at 662A Bedford Road, Carlisle, MA 01741 in lieu of flowers. Phyllis will be buried in her family plot in Schenectady in June.
Funeral arrangements are being made by the Dee Funeral Home of Concord.
William Roswell Fairbank
Sherry and Greg Fairbank of Westford Street are pleased to announce the birth of their son William, born on April 30 at Emerson Hospital. Big sister Megan was happy to welcome her baby brother at home.
• Drew Thomas Lockwood of Lowell Street, a member of Carlisle Boy Scout Troop 135, will become an Eagle Scout on Sunday, June 1, at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony. Members of the community and fellow Eagle Scouts are invited to attend as this young man receives the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor. The ceremony will be held at Union Hall, Carlisle’s First Religious Society, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 1.
• Christy Barbee of Cranberry Hill Lane was named one of the Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts. The sixth annual award is given by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. These are the women who “don’t make the news . . . they make the difference.”
Barbee has a long list of achievements and activities here in Carlisle:
• Case coordinator and member of the board of Communities for Restorative Justice.
• Volunteer in Citizen Action Team, a locally grown disaster-relief group that collects and sends needed goods to organizations after disasters (mostly focused on Katrina aftermath but has also responded after tornados and floods). This group also maintains a database of helping organizations around the country that list their needs as well as what they have to share with others.
• Member of the Carlisle School Committee and the School Building Committee.
• Member of the Carlisle Mosquito Forum staff.
In her spare time, sometimes she works in her profession, writing and editing.
• In April, Adam Weiss of Brook Street performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of the Georgia Tech Glee Club, and has just finished a two-week tour with the group through England, Scotland and Wales. Founded in 1906, the a cappella all-male singing group is the oldest student organization at Georgia Tech. Weiss is currently an aerospace engineering major and an international affairs major at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
They could have danced all night
Those who attended the Concord-Carlisle Junior Prom on Friday, May 16, dressed to the nines and braved the raindrops to enjoy an evening at the Westin Waltham Hotel. (Photos by Dave Ives)
© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito