In memory of
Carmelo Sanabria
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In memory of
Carmelo Sanabria
Carmelo Sanabria; 84 One of the original founders of the Spanish American Center LEOMINSTER -- Carmelo Sanabria, 84, of Winnetka, California and formerly Leominster, MA, died Tuesday, October 11, 2016, in his home after battling kidney disease and prostate cancer. Surrounded by his loving daughter and caregiver, Maria and her family, he passed through the shadows of suffering into God's clear day. Carmelo was born on February 14, 1932 in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, son of Francisco and Genara Sanabria. He came to the United States at age 14, working first in Florida, then harvesting tobacco in Connecticut, and finally settling in Chicopee, MA where he worked at the John R. Lyman Company textile mill. It was in Chicopee where he met and married Doris, the love of his life. The family moved to Leominster in 1965, where he found work in the many plastic shops of the time: Haldie Nicholson, Victory Button, Star Manufacturing, and Dupont, finally retiring after a disabling work injury from Milor Corporation in 1980. He was a talented and hard-working employee, directing the work of an entire floor and able to run as many as four machines at once. Upon retirement, he and his wife moved back to Springfield, MA, where they both had family, living there until several years after Doris' death in 1997. He moved to California with his daughter Maria in 2003 and spent summers in Leominster to visit with his children and grandchildren. Carmelo never met a stranger, and he leaves behind many wonderful friends and neighbors. He will be truly missed by all who were touched by his generous nature, infectious laugh and love for life. One of Carmelo's proudest accomplishments was his role as a founder of Leominster's Spanish American Center in 1966. He received the "Hispanic Heritage Award" in 2002 from the Center in recognition of his outstanding community service on behalf of the Twin Cities of Leominster and Fitchburg. Displayed with pride on his desk was an engraved clock proclaiming him "Founder and Visionary", presented by the Center at a party in his honor in 2012. Carmelo's family was his life. He was devoted to his wife, children and grandchildren, and loved nothing better than being surrounded by them: sharing a delicious meal, watching a good movie or a sports event, or playing cards or dominoes. He was an avid gardener who was happiest puttering about in his yard or the yards of his children, grooming the lawn, planting flowers and feeding the birds. He never met a lawn ornament he didn't like. Carmelo was so proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and loved listening to Spanish music, owning hundreds of records, cassettes and CDs which he happily shared with anyone who wanted to hear "beautiful music". He was a huge sports fan, especially baseball and his beloved Red Sox. He loved horse racing, and "going to the track" with friends or family was always a favorite outing, as was any opportunity to visit casinos in Connecticut or Las Vegas. Carmelo played the lottery every day, always going to bed with "esperanza" that in the morning when he checked his numbers, he'd hit it big. His family knows that in the "lottery of life", they were the ones who hit the jackpot, having such a loving husband, father and grandfather to share in so many special memories. He is survived by his son, Carmelo N. Sanabria and his wife, Diane of Leominster; his son, John F. Sanabria and his wife, Millie of Haverhill, MA; his daughter, Maria J. Sanabria of Winnetka, CA, with whom he lived, Maria's fiancé, Serafin Gonzalez and his daughter, Delicia; beloved grandchildren, Stephanie L. Sanabria and her fiancé, Jeffrey D. Alger, Colin F. Sanabria, and Aiden Zachary Gonzalez; and two great-grandchildren, Emily Doris Sanabria and Tessa Danielle Sanabria. Carmelo also leaves cherished half-siblings Jose, Crusita, Juan, Julito, Carmen, Adolfina, Ana, and Raquel as well as cousins Carmelina, Ramonita, and Pellin, all of Puerto Rico, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his wife of almost 40 years, Doris (Bienvenue) Sanabria, his sister, Milagros, half-siblings, Francisco and Lydia, cousin, Miguel, and a granddaughter, Sophia. SANABRIA -- Calling hours will be held on Thursday, October 20 from 4-7 pm in the Silas F. Richardson & Son Funeral Home, 106 West Street, Leominster, with a prayer service immediately following. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Carmelo's memory may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by visiting giftfunds.stjude.org/carmelosanabria . Donation envelopes will also be available at the funeral home, and can be left with Stephanie at the service. www.richardsonfuneralhome.net
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