Obituary: Ann Gail (Scacciotti) Shahinian, 84

by | Mar 10, 2024

From the Nardolillo Funeral Home website

Ann Gail Shahinian (Scacciotti), 84, of Carlisle, Mass., formerly of East Greenwich, died on March 6. She was the beloved wife of 58 years of Thomas K. Shahinian, M.D., cherished mother of Bethany Ann Richman (Michael Richman) and Karen Ann, and devoted grandmother of Samuel Thomas, Lily Ann, Jack Thomas, and William Thomas.

She was born during the Valentine’s Day Blizzard of 1940 in Providence, the daughter of Giacomo and Almarinda (Montaquila) Scacciotti, and grew up in Johnston with them and her two sisters, Janet Barnes, who survives her, and Maria DiChiaro, who predeceased her. Ann Gail was a graduate of Classical High School in Providence, and Pembroke College of Brown University, where she majored in classics. She also completed graduate studies in classics at Boston College before returning home to Rhode Island to start her teaching career at Sarah Dyer Barnes School in Johnston. In 1966, she married Thomas K. Shahinian, M.D., and they started their first of many adventures together by moving to Italy to live while Thomas finished medical school. Ann Gail embraced their life there, and brought back beautiful memories and traditions that endured. After returning home, she and Tom started a family in Cranston, welcoming two daughters, while Tom finished his residency and became an attending physician at Rhode Island Hospital, where Ann Gail had worked part-time as a telephone operator during her days at Pembroke. The young family then moved to East Greenwich, where they lived for almost 40 years. Here, Ann Gail, a woman of great faith, was very active at Our Lady of Mercy Church as well as at Our Lady of Mercy School, where she would later serve as principal. When her girls were older, she joined Tom to manage his second office in Barrington. She looked forward to those Tuesdays working with him, and often stopping to enjoy dinner out together.

Ann Gail brought light and peace to everyone she touched with her beautiful, warm smile. She possessed a quiet kindness and grace that was felt by all who knew her – beneficence personified. Her greatest joy was her family; they were her world, and she took care of them with love, warmth, wisdom, and humor. She dedicated herself to them with a quiet strength and tremendous love, and she was the guiding light for them all, knowing just what everyone needed without being told, and giving quietly, without ado. Marco Island in the winter and Maine in the summer were her favorite diversions, always with her face smiling up to the sun, and always focused on family and getting everyone there together. She had a soft spot for animals, and always had a pet and a dolly for Lucy, and treats for Penelope and Antigone.

After moving from East Greenwich to Carlisle, Mass., to be closer to their daughters, Ann Gail and Tom settled into their next adventure. Ann Gail embraced learning the ins and outs of a new place and spending time with her grandchildren, and for the first few years until Tom retired, she happily got up with him at four o’clock every morning to make him breakfast and get him on the road for his trek to Rhode Island Hospital. More recently, she looked forward to their nightly routine of watching Italian movies and television shows together. Education and learning were her mainstays, and as she had with her own children, she also found great joy teaching her grandchildren – whether reading with them, making lists of the state capitals for them to study, passing along her own books from her time as a teacher and a student, calling them up to tell them the latest news or weather event, sitting with them teaching them to make Christmas tortellini, or just talking with them so they could hear her gentle advice – it was all effortless and natural for her, and she treasured learning from them just as much. Every moment they spent with her, they learned something new, and she took the greatest pleasure in just talking to them, hearing about what they were studying in school and their latest activities.

She was a wonderful writer who shared her great love of books (especially spy thrillers), words, and puzzles with her family as well, often having Wordle and Spelling Bee contests with them, especially her son-in-law Michael, always all in good fun, and always happiest if one of them could beat her. She had patience and goodness beyond measure, the greatest humility, and an endlessly giving heart. She led by example, showing quiet commitment, responsibility, hard work, compassion, the fun of good adventure and a bit of happy mischief, and above all, the importance of family. She gave her family the greatest gift of a home filled with love, strength, peace, and kindness, and with this, she left the richest of legacies.

Her Mass of Christian Burial, to which relatives and friends are invited, will be held on Tuesday, March 12th at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 65 Third St., East Greenwich. Burial will be private.

In recognition of her love of learning, in lieu of flowers, contributions to honor her memory may be made to Our Lady of Mercy School, 55 Fourth Avenue, East Greenwich, Rhode Island 02818, or to The Sisters of Mercy, 15 Highland View Road, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864.

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EG News Obituary Policy: We post obituaries relevant to our readers. If you would like to share an obituary, send it to [email protected]. Put “obituary” in the subject line. 

Posted 3/10/24

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