Rita Devereux Sgammato, 89, of Milford

Rita Devereux Sgammato, 89, of Milford, Massachusetts died peacefully surrounded by loved ones on May 11, 2024. Rita lived a long, full life as a teacher, wife, mother, and grandmother. She was predeceased in 2023 by her husband of 64 years, Dominic John (Jack) Sgammato.

Born to William and Mary (McCormack) Devereux, Rita grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York and she attended Elizabeth Seton High School in Yonkers. She went on to earn her B.A. in English and Education at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, a small, private college on the Hudson River.

After college, she began work as a New York City teacher at P.S. 9, the Ryer Avenue Elementary School, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the South Bronx. This experience set the foundation for her lifelong career as an educator.

She met her husband, Jack Sgammato, on Valentine’s Day 1957. They were married in New York on July 4, 1959 and together they raised two girls and four boys.

They left New York at the end of 1966, for York, Pennsylvania where the family lived for a few years before moving to Milford, Massachusetts in 1970.

Taking time out from her career to raise her children, she never stopped teaching -- instilling in them the importance of reading and continuously educating themselves. She also made sure they all learned the basic skills of cooking and baking and taught them the value of gathering as a family to break bread. Her Sunday dinners were masterpieces of family cooperation with everyone pitching in to create that week’s feast. A trademark symbol of her esteem for family, she always had a sign hanging in her well-used kitchen reminding all to “Love One Another.”

In the ‘80s, Rita turned her love of cooking into a home business, Sweetness & Light, for which she handcrafted delicious chocolate confections and artisan candles. She even ran a candy shop from the front room of the family home.

Later that decade, Rita taught in the Special Education department at Medway Middle School where she was very popular with her young students.

She continued her career as an educator when she assumed oversight of the religious education program at Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Milford. During her tenure at St. Mary’s, she pursued graduate studies at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. Rita continued working with the church until retirement in the early ‘90s.

A consummate giver, Rita was always extremely active in the community. She participated in volunteer work for St. Mary of the Assumption Church as a Catechist and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. She also served as Coordinator for the Milford School Volunteers, Cubmaster, Pack 33 Cub Scouts (Trinity Episcopal Church), Volunteer for the Girl Scouts of America, and a founding member of the Milford Couples Club. In Florida, she was a contributing member of Clown Alley 179 which raised money for cancer careandhospice groups.

Rita is survived by her six children and eight grandchildren. Her children and their spouses are John & Lorna Sgammato of Plymouth, MA, William & Lisa Sgammato, Thomas & Michelle Sgammato, and Jordan & Pegeen (Sgammato) DosSantos  - all of Milford, MA, Marita (Sgammato) Carroll of New York, NY, and Joseph and Lynn Sgammato of Wells, ME. Grandchildren are Jane Abernethy (and husband Dan) of Winchendon, MA, Mary Sgammato of Franklin, MA and Margaret Sgammato of Milford, MA, Benjamin (and wife Jennie Thach) Sgammato of San Antonio, TX, Devereux Sgammato of Brighton, MA,  and Dominic, Timothy and Gemma Sgammato of Wells, ME.

Her funeral will be held Monday (May 20th) at 9am from the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 19 Winter Street, Milford MA. In accordance with her wishes cremation will follow her Funeral Mass. A Private Graveside Committal Service of her cremains will be held at the convenience of the family. Visiting hours will be held Sunday (May 19th) from 2pm to 4pm at the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. Mary of the Assumption Church Renovation Fund, c/o St. Mary’s Church Offices, 17 Winter Street, Milford MA 01757.