Linda L. (Casasanta) Zacchilli, 68, of Milford MA, passed away on Wednesday (March 13, 2019) after a courageous ten year battle with cancer in the comfort of her home surrounded by her loving family. She was the daughter of Viola “Vi” (DeLuzio) Casasanta and the late Vittorio G. “Vic” Casasanta. , and was a lifelong Milford resident.
She is survived by her husband Nicholas; son Michael and Janel (Rodriques) and their sons John, Michael, and Nicholas of Staten Island NY; and sons Christopher and Lynn (Marcolini) and their daughter Elliana; and Peter, all of Milford MA. Also surviving are her sister, Jamie and her husband Michael Bruzina and brothers Paul and Michael Casasanta. She also leaves behind sisters-in-law Francesca Casasanta and Donna Casasanta; sister-in-law Maryellen (Zacchilli) Kearnan of Milford MA; brother and sister-in-law Joseph and Peggy Zacchilli of Milford MA; sister-in-law Leonora (Lee) Teixiera, wife of the late Anthony “Tex” Teixiera of Sandwich MA. In addition, she leaves many loving cousins, nephews and nieces and a multitude of friends.
A graduate of Milford High School, Class of 1968, she began her teaching and coaching career in the Milford Public Schools after graduating from North Adams State College in 1972. She taught Physical Education at every level from pre-school to high school before retiring in 2008. Her first varsity coaching opportunity was with the girls basketball program from 1973 to 1981, where her teams won over sixty percent of their games over an eight year period.
Volleyball, however, was Linda’s true love. She started the girls’ volleyball program , later to be known as the “Ladybugs” in 1974, compiling a record of 397-89 over 27 seasons, earning numerous sectional and district championships and placing second in the state on three occasions. She also started the boys’ program in 1985, and compiled a record of 306-47 over 26 seasons and placed second in the state in both 2012 and 2013. She nurtured and guided countless young women and men over the years, so many of whom have taken up the coaching mantle themselves, and so many more who have continued to stay in touch with her over the years.
A three-time Boston Globe Coach of the Year, Linda was a founding member of the State Volleyball Coaches Association, serving as both Secretary and President, and was honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. She served on the MIAA Volleyball Committee from 1978-1996 and was presented with its Massachusetts Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award in 2017. Linda was an inaugural inductee into the Massachusetts Girls Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999, and was inducted into both the Milford High School and New Agenda Northeast Halls of Fame in 2009.
Family was most important to Linda. She inherited a passion for gardening and flowers from her father, and was an excellent baker and cook, thanks to the skills taught by her mother. She lived life to the fullest with her husband and sons- camping, hiking, skiing, boating, fishing; any outdoor activity was on the table. The highlight of their adventures was a seven week cross country camping trip in 1996 where they enjoyed many of their favorite activities-and more- in many National and State Parks. They covered over 13,000 miles that summer while creating atleast that many memories. Casasanta family memories were made and cherished at the family cottage on Sagamore Beach and at Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday celebrations aat various family homes. Zacchilli family get togethers often involve d camping trips with Uncle Moe’s family, summer fun on Sagamore and Sandwich beaches, Night Before the 4th and Easter Mondays with the Oliva’s, and more recently, July 4th weeks on Crystal and Thompson Lakes in Maine. “Auntie Linda” was usually in charge of game and liquid refreshments.
Besides family, Linda cherished nothing more than her friends. It started with her and Nick’s teaching colleagues and Memorial Day Weekend celebrations at Sagamore Beach, and her many volleyball coaching colleagues throughout the State with who she developed lasting relationships. When her sons were younger, she organized ski trips to Sunday River with their friends and families from youth soccer and scouting. Neighborhood gatherings brought together a different group of friends. Her sons’ high school sports and activities- soccer, football, wrestling and volleyball, as well as band and orchestra, offered her the opportunity to build new friendships. In retirement she took up quilting, golf and Mah Jongg, and always enjoyed any type of shopping or antiquing “road trip”.
Over the years Linda brought all the ladies in these disparate groups, many of whom would not otherwise met, but have become close friends, together for her infamous “Girls Weekend”, first at Sagamore Beach and more recently in Maine. Always the activity director, and noted for her competitive streak, Linda made sure there was plenty to do. Walks on the beach, scavenger hunts, flip cup contests, leisurely cruises on the pontoon, cross country skiing or snowshoeing, Pickleball, cooking demonstrations and competitions, campfires and of course cocktails. Linda and Nick also cherished the times they spent with many of these friends throughout the years, on their trips to Italy since their retirement.
We might not be the ones to change the world. We might not belong to the few that “put a ding in the universe”. We might not be something the whole world will celebrate. But …. In the little corners that we live; in the lives that we have played a part in, we should be nothing but unforgettable”. – Unforgettable: Living a Life That Matters.
Her funeral will be held Saturday (March 16th) at 9am from the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (UPPER CHURCH), 7 East Main Street, Milford MA. Burial will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Milford. Visiting hours will be Friday (March 15th) from 5pm to 8pm. Visit www.edwardsmemorialfuneralhome.com for complete obituary & condolence book.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Coach Linda Zacchilli Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Milford Federal Bank, 246 Main Street, Milford MA 01757 or to The Oliva Fund for Cancer Care, c/o Milford Regional Healthcare Foundation, 14 Prospect Street, Milford MA 01757.