Salem — John E. DiVeglia, husband of the late Christine (Borrelli) DiVeglia, with whom he shared 68 years of marriage, died April 20, 2013, at North Shore Medical Center in Salem.
Born in 1920, the son of the late Luigi and Bessie (Porcello) DiVeglia, he spent his earliest days in the Pearl Street area of Salem. Although a lover of reading, he left school at an early age. After brief stints at Plummer Farm School and in the Civilian Conservation Corps, he found a true calling in the U.S. Army. He served in Panama, and as an infantryman in France during World War II. He was a recipient of both the Silver Star and Bronze Star. Upon return to civilian life after the war, he served for many years in the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts National Guard, achieving the rank of Major.
As a young man, Mr. DiVeglia worked in a variety of professional areas, from furniture mover to municipal worker with the cities of Lynn and Nahant. A productive, lengthy career in the electricity industry began when he was selected as one of the first employees of New England Power Company’s Salem Harbor Station in 1951. During his 30 years at the plant, he took courses on power generation and trained on the job, attaining the highly responsible position of Control Room Engineer, which he held until his retirement in 1981.
An avid reader of books and newspapers into his ninth decade, Mr. DiVeglia was a strong believer in self-education, and amazed everyone with his grasp of American history and current events. He was a devoted music fan, particularly the music of the Big Bands and classic songs of the 1930s and 1940s. He was an enthusiastic teller of stories about his life, including his childhood in the Pearl and Lemon Street areas of Salem, and his early military experiences as an Army bugler. He was a skilled vegetable gardener, noted for his tomatoes, and loved to cook, particularly Italian food.
Mr. DiVeglia was predeceased by his wife, Christine; his brothers, Joseph and Alfred; and sister, Mary (DiVeglia) Watson. He is survived by two children, Joseph DiVeglia and his wife, Kathleen, of Oxford, Mass., and Kathleen Desilets and her husband, Robert, of Salem; a brother, Carmine and his wife, Olga, of Salem; two sisters, Ann Perry of Peabody and Eleanor Arrington and her husband, George, of Wells, Maine; six grandchildren, Karen Swanbon and her husband, Glenn, of Maynard, Janette Desilets of Peabody, Gary Desilets and his wife, Gail, of Lynn, Amy Atkins and her husband, Jonathan, of Salem, Angela DiVeglia of Providence, R.I., and Laura DiVeglia of Salem; and seven great-grandchildren, Daniel Swanbon, Owen Swanbon, Mark Desilets, Matthew Desilets, Sarah Desilets, Jonathan Desilets, and Rian Atkins.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held on Friday, April 26, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St., corner of North Street, Salem. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Interment will be in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass., on Cape Cod at 1 p.m. Please meet at the Main Gate at 12:45 p.m. Visiting hours will be on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. in the funeral home. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Massachusetts National Guard Museum, 44 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609. For online guest book or additional information, please call 978-744-0497 or visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com.