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Laura Raffo de Grazia

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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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Memories & Candles

“Dear Luisella, I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of your dear mother. She was indeed a force of nature, full of energy and warmth! I was...Read More »
1 of 10 | Posted by: Barbara H LLoyd - Cambridge, MA

“Luisella, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Although it is an extremely sad time, I hope you can find comfort in...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Rahel Der Sarkissian - Brookline

“Very much sadden by the news of your dear mother's passing. Our family is keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers. ”
3 of 10 | Posted by: Sheri Richardson - Milton, MA

“Laura was always an inspiration to the rest of us in the Italian department at BU, through her energy, her warmth, her dry humor, her nuanced...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Nancy Harrowitz - Boston, MA

“Laura was instrumental in creating a Minor in Italian at Regis College during the 80's and 90's. She was a fabulous colleague, full of energy,...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: Mary-Anne Vetterling - Weston, MA

“Dr Raffo was my professor and advisor for so many courses at Boston University in the late 1970's. She was such an inspiration and a classy person! ...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Anthony Caruso - Newton, MA

“Laura was truly a one of a kind lady. I will always remember her kindness, warmth, wisdom, and compassion. She was and will always be one of my...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Lauren Leiderman - Görlitz

“Remembering with warm affection and appreciation a dear colleague and mentor who lead the way for all of us with dedication and vision for our...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: A friend

“Sono così grato per la straordinaria amicizia che ho goduto con Laura. Era l'insegnante superba, un'amica premurosa, ed una persona...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Jeffrey Stevens - Jamaica Plain, MA

“Peter and I were deeply saddened by the news of Laura's passing. We are so very sorry for your loss and will miss Laura immensely. This must be a...Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: A friend

Laura Raffo de Grazia passed in peace at her home in Weston on Thursday, February 20, 2020, surrounded by family. She was 90.

Born on June 4, 1929 in Turin, Province of Piedmont, Italy, she was the daughter of the late Luigi and Maria (Piovano) de Grazia. Raised in Italy, Laura was schooled at the University of Torino. She married John F. Raffo on April 11, 1953, in Turin. They first immigrated to the United States in 1964 for three years, after which they spent another ten years in Italy. There she became a tenured teacher of Italian language, literature, history and Latin at Istituto Tommaseo, Milan. Laura and John settled permanently in Weston, Massachusetts, in 1977.

After moving to the United States, Laura taught Italian at Boston University, becoming Lecturer and Language Course Coordinator. During her time at Boston University, she worked as the department's liaison with the Italian Consul-General in Boston and was instrumental in brokering an accord that allowed the best graduates in Italian Studies to work as apprentice teachers in Italian high schools. Since 1999, in addition to her teaching duties at Boston University, Laura spearheaded a language program at The Opera Institute that consisted of Italian practice and conversation courses. She worked with young professional singers twice a week, where the institute's opera performances received praise in particular for the "Italian coaches and voice faculty." A member of the faculty of Boston University for 40 years, she retired in 2015.

Her love of teaching, history, the Italian language and affinity for music touched everything she achieved. Ultimately, Laura was at her happiest when her family, friends and especially her students were learning and succeeding in any endeavor.

In addition to her husband John, whom she met at primary school and shared 80 years with, Laura leaves her daughters, Luisella Raffo (Michael Jones) of Weston and Carla Raffo (Antony Withers) of London; her grandchildren, Laura Cipolla, Henry J. Cipolla, Richard R. Cipolla (Maureen French), John R. Withers (Priyanka Agrawal), Edward A. Withers and Charles N. Withers; her great-grandson, Leo Cipolla; her brother, Claudio de Grazia (Angela) of Turin, Italy; her nephew Gian Luigi de Grazia (Anna) and cousins from the de Grazia and Piovano families.

Family and friends will honor and remember Laura's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Monday, February 24th from 4 to 7 p.m. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday in Saint Julia's Church, 374 Boston Post Road, Weston at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow in Linwood Cemetery, Weston.

Memorial donations may be made to Boston University, Department of Romance Languages | Italian Studies, 718 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215 (

Upcoming Funeral Services

Linwood Cemetery

132 State Road Bypass Weston, MA 02493