And then there were none.
On October 5, 2021, Clara Virginia Sarno passed away at her home in Cleveland Circle at Waterstone at the Circle. She was the last surviving child of twelve, the eighth of Angelina and Frank Sarno. Clara was raised in Roxbury and graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School and Burdett College. From Roxbury, Clara with three siblings moved to Watertown where they made a home to welcome a huge extended family. Her working career spanned decades. She worked first for a leather export company, P.J. Fernandes, in Boston’s Leather District, then for a startup isotope manufacturing and radiation monitoring laboratory, Tracer Lab, begun by a small cadre of recent M.I.T. graduates. From there she moved on to work for a pesticide company, Garden Hose Spray Company in Cambridge. With Rachael Carson’s 1963 publication, Silent Spring, activities at the Company also went silent. From there she transitioned into banking. She worked first at the Merchant’s National Bank in Boston but with many bank takeovers arrived ultimately at Bank of America.
At age 65, fearing retirement was inevitable, she asked to continue to work. She remained in the Real Estate Trust Department there until her retirement at age 80. During WWII, after her working day, she was proud to be a Gray Lady, an American Red Cross nursing volunteer, at what was then The Boston City Hospital. While there she helped tend burn victims from the Coconut Grove Fire. At the end of her working career she was, for many years, a volunteer (information desk greeter) at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge.
She was predeceased by her siblings, Alfred (Rose Anne), Richard, Edward (Celeste), Daniel (Susan), William (Jennie), Beatrice (Dino), Adeline, Gerard (Helen), Leonora, Henry (Frances) and Virginia (Frank) and by a dear friend, Joseph Joyce. She is survived, she boasted, by some 84 nieces and nephews (great and great great) all of whom she knew immediately by name, spouse, offspring and location. She kept track of their new homes, new cars, new fiancés and new expected arrivals. There are way too many of them to list. She was a woman of great faith and for two years was Grand Martial of Catholic Daughters of America. She lived her entire life with her younger sister, Leonora (Lee). During their lives together they were both generous philanthropists supporting Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Jimmy Fund, Mount Auburn Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital and the Nativity Preparatory School in Roxbury.
Lee died earlier this year and her funeral arrangements were delayed because of the Covid crisis. Clara and Lee will be buried together at a funeral mass at Sacred Heart Church 770 Mt. Auburn St. Watertown on Saturday October 23rd, 2021 at 10 AM. Internment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden. Relatives & friends are kindly invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Clara and Lee can be made to the Nativity Preparatory School 39 Lamartine St. Boston, MA 02130.
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