Cynthia Fidelia Marie Pellegrini

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Cynthia Fidelia Marie Pellegrini, 79, of Somerville, Massachusettes, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on September 4, 2020.

Cynthia was born to Leo B. and Kirsti Pellegrini on December 20, 1940, at their home on Mine Street in Calumet. Growing up, Cynthia loved playing all kinds of sports, especially baseball and basketball, and was also a talented writer. She graduated from Calumet High School in 1958 and went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Wayne State University in 1962. Following graduation, Cynthia took a job as a reporter for the Flint Journal, where she worked for four years.

A lover of adventure, she then moved to Busby, Montana, where she volunteered for AmeriCorps VISTA and was also a teacher in the Head Start program on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. In addition, she set up the first mother and child shelter on the reservation, a much-needed resource for the native people there.

After her time on the reservation, she moved to Boston, Massachusettes, in 1968, and soon after was hired by Houghton Mifflin as an educational content writer, once again utilizing her talents with pen and paper. Boston soon became Cynthia’s new home, and as she would say, “it was the place for her!”

One thing Cynthia loved about her new city were the sporting teams. An avid baseball fan, Cynthia watched and attended many Red Sox games, and additionally enjoyed watching Boston’s basketball and hockey teams, the Celtics and the Bruins, battle their way to victory.

After spending four years at Houghton Mifflin, Cynthia moved to Cape Cod, where she held many different jobs. One unique thing about Cynthia was her ability to pick up any job and do it well. She always had a knack for making even the most mundane jobs an adventure, and the highlight for her was always the good friends she made along the way.

During her time in Cape Cod, Cynthia met a wonderful group of friends, many of whom became lifelong friends to her. Somewhere along the way, she picked up the nickname “Dana,” and has been known as this to her friends ever since.

During this time, she also met her life partner, Martha Podren, and they formed a deep and unbreakable bond. Through the years, they went on many adventures together, including traveling to many National Parks across the United States and to places around the World. As companions, they always supported each other in their independent endeavors and at the end of the day, always found their way back to each other.

While she was living in Cape Cod, she began to tinker around with building small things out of wood. Her blossoming interest took her out to California in 1978, where she attended woodworking school while also working a factory job to support herself. After completing school in 1979, she returned to her beloved “Beantown,” and while looking for work in her newfound profession, worked a couple of odd jobs. An honest, humble, and hard worker, she never saw herself as “too good” for any job and was always willing to do what it took to “put food on the table,” as she would say.

Cynthia soon found a job working for prominent woodworker William Brower, a local futon bed maker based out of Boston’s South End. After four years of working for Brower and spending considerable time mastering her skills, she decided to go out and start her own business.

Over the years, Cynthia mastered her craft and established herself as a very fine woodworker in the Boston area, specializing in cabinet making. She made intricate pieces of furniture and cabinetry for a wide range of professionals, including doctors, lawyers, and interior designers. Woodworking was her true passion and one of her favorite places in the world to be was her shop. She was bound and determined to work for as long as she could, and that is exactly what she did.

In 1986, Cynthia and her partner Martha joined up with a group of artists looking for affordable spaces to live in the city. In 1988, the pair moved into their loft space at Brickbottom Artists Building. Containing only kitchen fixtures and a bathroom, the two collaborated to design their entire space, and along with help from some talented friends, Cynthia utilized her woodworking skills to build almost everything from the cabinets to the walls. This became Cynthia’s home for the remainder of her life, and over time, she became a pillar in the Brickbottom community and a dear friend to many. She will be greatly missed by the many friends she has made here.

One of the pillars of Cynthia’s full and adventurous life was her immediate and extended family. She made great sacrifices to visit her family across the country and was always there when they needed her, whether it was to help out during a sickness or celebrate a graduation. Her love for her family was selfless and genuine, expressed through many letters, phone calls, and visits over the years.

Cynthia was also a lover of history, folk music, Native American culture, and the American west. She always enjoyed a good political discussion and was passionate about the issues she supported. She absolutely loved cats and volunteered her time at the local animal shelter, and was also an avid birdwatcher. Most of all, Cynthia was a lover of people and was known to make friends everywhere she went. The footprints she has left on all of our hearts will be remembered forever.

She is survived by her life partner of 42 years, Martha Podren, of Somerville; brother, Clark (Sherrie) Pellegrini of Calumet; Sister-in-law, Suzie Pellegrini of Cincinnati, Ohio; family member Phyllis Podren of Cambridge, Massachusettes; and family member, Cindy Podren of Kensington, California. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews, Guy (Cindy) Pellegrini and son, Ty, of Mohawk, Deano (Angie) Pellegrini of Anderson, South Carolina, Kirsti Pellegrini of Columbia, Missouri, Kate Pellegrini of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Marco Pellegrini of Pompano Beach, Florida.

She was preceded in death by her younger brother, David Pellegrini; and parents, Leo B. and Kirsti Pellegrini.