Mr. Thomas M. Damigella, a Tupperware legend and resident of Topsfield, formerly longtime of Melrose, passed away quietly in his sleep surrounded by the love of his family on Monday, September 16, 2013, at the age of 97.
Thomas M. Damigella was born on December 7, 1915 in Chelsea, one of five children of the late Joseph and Lorenzina (Puccio) Damigella. Raised and educated in East Boston, he graduated from Concordia College in Bronxville, New York, with the Class of 1937. On December 24, 1939, Tom married Ann S. Mazzarino and they settled in Melrose to raise a family. He lived in Melrose for over 44 years, then moved to the North End for several years, and for the last 4 years had been living in Topsfield to be closer to his family.
Mr. Damigella was active in the Melrose community for many years. He was a member of the Sons of Italy and a longtime active member of the First United Methodist Church. He was also a past president of the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Board of Trustees and a benefactor for the new Emergency Room.
Tom and his wife, Ann, were one of the pioneers in Tupperware who helped to bring the party plan to Earl Tupper in 1948. Tom and Ann were fascinated with this new polyethylene plastic product that had a liquid tight seal. They decided to find the supplier and started selling them through Stanley type parties. Thus the birth of the Tupperware party took place in Everett, Ma. Their success became noticed by Earl Tupper who called them to find out who they were and why they were selling more of his products then any of the local stores. They eventually met and Tom was able to persuade him that his beautiful product “was dying on the shelves” and it should be demonstrated. Earl Tupper eventually found more people like Tom and Ann Damigella and Brownie Wise that were selling his product through the party plan and thus decided to officially establish Tupperware Home Parties in 1951. It is a classic American success story. The American dream to be a success at whatever you wanted to do.
Tom Damigella always felt that he was a fortunate man and throughout his 55 years in Tupperware, he shared his success with many by creating 14 distributors and developing over 1000 managers who happened to walk through the doors of Damigella Distributors. Tom and Ann were always top 30 distributors in the nation and were #1 in dollars over Nationally 3 times. They were ranked #9 in the world in 1990. They were the recipient of the prestigious AD Astra award in 1966.
Today, the legacy of Tom Damigella continues to live on as Damigella Distributors is still ranked in the top 10 in North America and is the only remaining original distributorship in the World. In spite of his many successes, Tom Damigella was always generous with his knowledge, support, and encouragement with everyone who had the privilege to know this man. He was always respected and available for council to every Tupperware President and Chairman that presided over this great company. Tom Damigella was a trailblazer for others in Tupperware, was a loving father and mentor to his family, and loyal friend to many who regarded him highly as a man of integrity and good conscience to always give and do his best for himself and others. May his legend live on and may his lessons in search for excellence never be forgotten.
Tom will be lovingly remembered as the beloved husband of the late Ann S. (Mazzarino) Damigella with whom he shared 57 years of marriage. Loving son of the late Joseph Damigella, and Lorenzina (Puccio) Damigella. Devoted father of Sandra Ann Nelson and her late husband Jon of Heathrow, FL, and Thomas J. Damigella and his wife Rita of Topsfield. Dear brother of Mary Ferrara of Nampa, ID, and the late Carmen DeRosa, Victor Damigella, and Antoinette Stuto. Cherished grandfather of Kirsten Telan of Orlando, FL, Kurt Nelson of Lake Mary, FL, Heather Sharp of Orlando, FL, Michelle Damigella Komm of Georgetown, Jacquelyn King of Topsfield, and Gregory Damigella of Topsfield. Loving great-grandfather of Kyle, Abby Ann, Jared, Alison, Chase, Carter, Campbell Ann, Emaline, Elliot, Henry, Grace, and Gehrig. Also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends will gather in honor and remembrance of Tom’s life at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose during visiting hours on Sunday, September 22 from 3-7 PM, and for his Funeral Service at the First United Methodist Church, 645 Main St., Melrose celebrated on Monday at 10:30 AM. Interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.
Gifts in Tom’s memory may be made to the Thomas M. Damigella Scholarship Fund, 44 Willowdale Rd., Topsfield, MA 01983, or to Hospice of the North Shore, 75 Sylvan St., Ste. B102, Danvers, MA 01923. For directions, online tribute or to share a memory, visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com