FITCHBURG — Ray Spagnuolo recently retired as superintendent of St. Bernard’s Cemetery after 27 years of dedicated service.
Spagnuolo was 27 years old when he accepted a job as laborer at the cemetery on Goodrich Street. Under the tutelage of then Superintendent Steven Schaff, he was trained for preparing graves and understanding the layout of the cemetery and individual lots. During that time, Spagnuolo was promoted to assistant superintendent and after leaving for a few years to pursue another career opportunity, he moved back home and accepted the superintendent job.
His excellent work was appreciated by local funeral homes and families through the years and Spagnuolo served in the superintendent position with distinction until his retirement in June. Kevin Mack and Larry Brandon of Brandon Funeral Home presented Spagnuolo with a certificate of appreciation last month along with best wishes for a long and healthy retirement.
“I considered myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to work under Fr. H. Edward Chalmers and recently for Fr. Joseph Dolan. They have both been the greatest mentors of my life, learning many life lessons from their everyday problem solving,” Spagnuolo said. “During my time at the cemetery, I have met and serviced many wonderful families. To have someone enter your office crying and distraught and seeing them leave content is very fulfilling.”
Taking over as superintendent of the cemetery is Jason Baldini, whom Spagnuolo met when Baldini was managing the Montuori Oil Delivery gas station on Boulder Drive.
“Watching Jason carry himself at Montuori’s made me realize he would be a perfect fit to fill my position,” Spagnuolo said. “I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a wonder career and to be under the guidance of two great men, Fr. H. Edward Chalmers and Fr. Joseph Dolan, and always the kind generosity of Brandon Funeral Home who donated our lovely office furniture at the cemetery office. Thank you all and best of luck to Jason Baldini.”
Baldini’s father and grandfather both worked for the Fitchburg Department of Public Works. He said he is happy to “have taken a similar position but in the private sector” at the cemetery.
“I worked for Mr. Michael Montuori in Fitchburg for 26 years, managing the gas stations, delivering tires, and delivering oil,” Baldini said. “Mr. Montuori taught me how to be with customers and how the public needed to be treated. I have taken that knowledge and life skills and am now the superintendent at St. Bernard’s.”
Baldini praised his predecessor and said he will do his best to carry on that legacy of steadfast service to the community.
“Ray Spagnuolo has done an amazing job over his tenure, and I am looking to continue that for the rest of my career in the cemetery,” Baldini said. “Being able to help people in their time of need fills my heart with joy and it makes me feel better as a human being.”
Sally Cragin contributed to this story.