WESTERLY - Mary Lou Serra died on Monday, April 10, 2017, surrounded by her loving family. A lifelong resident of Westerly, she graduated from Westerly High School and the University Without Walls with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her love of children was strong and she worked as the head of the Catholic Youth Organization fostering religious education. She organized ski trips and the yearly Good Friday production of the Live Stations of the Cross. Mary Lou loved her work at Westerly Preschool, where she taught for 25 years. Mary Lou founded the Westerly Substance Task Force. In her capacity as its coordinator, she forged a collaborative and productive relationship with the Westerly Police Force, bringing education and prevention programs to those suffering with addiction. She created the DARE program to educate our youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. As part of her work combating addiction, she became a State Certified Prevention Specialist. Mary Lou brought the First Night Celebration to Westerly starting in 1996. Her tireless work for her community was recognized with the Dante Society Award in 2006 and Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award in 1996. She was predeceased by her beloved parents, James A. and Florence A. Serra. She leaves her brother and sisters, Nancy and her husband, Eugene Fiore, Edward Serra, Judy Moretti, and Diana Serra; her nieces and nephews, Lori Comforti, James Serra, Julie Rosetta, Gina and her husband, Phillip Stillman, and Michael Fiore; and great-nieces and -nephews, Molly Comforti, Jordan Rosetta, Luke Hall, Phillip Stillman Jr., and Janessa Warren. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to The Galilee Mission, a residential Substance Abuse Treatment Center, P.O. Box, 266 Kingstown Road, Narragansett, R.I. Visiting hours are omitted. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 44 Elm St., Westerly. Burial will follow at St. Sebastian Cemetery, Westerly. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly, is in charge of the arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com.
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