DiMilla, Elizabeth “Betty,” age 86, of Hingham, formerly of Bourne and Framingham, passed away peacefully in Boston on September 3, following a brief hospitalization. Betty was born on January 16, 1937, the older of two children, to Eleanor (Pellegrino) and Harold Cook, Sr. Together with her younger brother Harold, she grew up in Medford and then Burlington. From an early age, she was a “doer” and a caretaker of others, even back when she looked after several of her more than 30 first cousins, being the oldest of the bunch. Betty graduated from Burlington High School in 1954 and attended Boston College School of Nursing, graduating in 1958. Her petite stature (5’2”) didn’t stop her from being a founding member and captain of the women’s basketball team. BC was a special place for her; she stayed in touch with numerous classmates across the years and returned for many school reunions, most recently as a ‘Golden Eagle.’
She began her career as a student nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she would take her last breath many years later. She was a pediatric RN at Boston Floating Hospital in 1958, then a medical-surgical RN instructor at Framingham Union Hospital from 1959 to 1962, and also an In-Service Educational Instructor at Framingham’s Cushing Hospital from 1962 to 1964. Motherhood intervened in the mid-60’s and 70’s, but she returned to nursing as an instructor for Boston University, teaching students at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick. She finished her career as the nursing director at Regis College in Weston.
Betty met her soulmate Vincent on a blind date in 1963, set up by her hairdresser (now her sister-in-law Ann). They married in Burlington in 1964 and lived in Southborough, where they began a family in 1965. They eventually moved to Framingham, their home for 30 years, and raised five children, with Betty as a hard-working, stay-at-home mom. Betty’s role as a mother and grandmother (‘Mimi’) was perhaps her greatest achievement. She and Vin went to great lengths to surround their children with unparalleled love and support, including amazing home-cooking and local adventures to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, coastal Maine and especially Cape Cod. A small summer cottage in Eastham, built by her parents in 1969, was Betty’s favorite getaway and remains her family's ‘happy place’ to this day.
True to her selfless spirit, she never missed sending birthday or anniversary cards, and could always be found in her kitchen, producing large, shareable quantities of baked goods to drop off with neighbors or have at-the-ready for company. Her vast network of friends and family is evidence of her ever-present urge to make everyone’s day better with an impromptu visit or phone call.
Always wanting to stay close to the coast, Betty and Vin built a home in 1998 within walking distance of the sea in Bourne, MA, where they hosted many family holidays and welcomed grandchildren with open arms. Her final seven years were spent with Vin at Linden Ponds Retirement Community in Hingham, catering to her husband’s healthcare needs, cooking up a storm, and frequently beating others at cribbage, a passion of hers up until the very end of her life. Betty and Vin shared almost 60 years of marriage and were never closer than on the day she departed this earth…a perfect partnership if there ever was one.
Betty was the matriarch of our family and her death leaves a huge hole in our hearts. She is survived by her loving husband of almost 60 years, Vincent, and her children Christine Sarfati (and husband Jerry), Peter DiMilla (and wife Jeanine), Andrew DiMilla (and wife Martha), and Julie DiMilla. She is also survived by her brother Harold Cook, Jr. (and wife Alex), along with five grandchildren - Leah, Ben, Luke, Matthew and Jacquelyn - and nieces Isabel Vaughan and Vicky Cook (and husband Caleb). She is predeceased by her son John, with whom she has now been joyously reunited.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, September 15 at 10:30am from St. Anne Church, 20 Boston Rd., Southborough, MA followed by burial at the Southborough Rural Cemetery, 11 Cordaville Rd. (Route 85).
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Betty’s name to the American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/, the Cape Cod National Seashore https://www.fccns.org/donate, or a charity of your choice.