Vincent Francis “Vinny” Zarrilli, 85, of Bridgeport, CT, Sudbury and Boston, died peacefully on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at St Patrick's Manor in Framingham. Vinny was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to the late Michael and Gina (Di Maio) Zarrilli.
After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1954, Vinny, newly married, moved to Boston and attended law school for a just under year. But the booming post-war economy beckoned and he answered. He left law school, began selling cookware door to door, income rolled into the small Brighton apartment he shared with his new bride, Elise (Larkin) Zarrilli, and very quickly an American retail entrepreneur was born.
His life was simply non-stop between the later 1950's and the mid-1970's. During those years, Vinny's hard work produced the first gourmet cookware chain store in America, The Pot Shop. At its peak, 17 stores thrived throughout New England. Along with the stores came the wholesaling and manufacturing of gourmet cookware. Many in New England still remember Vinny's Boston Baked Bean Pot—declared “official” by the Boston Chamber of Commerce. Customers also remember the French Omelette Pan, which he designed with the help of Julia Child.
Later in life, Vinny became a civic activist. He had many interests in making Boston a better place, chiefly promoting his proposed “BB,” or Boston Bypass as an alternative to the massive Central Artery project, an endeavor he called “...pernicious, political, and perverted.” Although it was soon rejected by the city, Vinny promoted the BB with the same vigor and colorful enthusiasm he put into his stores. As many would say, Vinny was "one of a kind."
Vincent is survived by Elise Zarrilli and four of his children: Gerry Zarrilli and his wife Wendy Northrup of Portland, ME, Joe Zarrilli and wife Lori of Westborough; John Zarrilli and his wife Jeanne of Gorham, ME, Mary Zarrilli Connaughton and her husband Rick of Framingham; his grandchildren Amelia, Katie, Kristi, Kenny, Stanley, Emily and Michael Zarrilli; Paul, Ben and Phillip Connaughton; and his great-grandchildren, Canio and Audrey Mosby. He was predeceased by his beloved youngest son, Paul (1964-1997) who was married to Dianna; his siblings, Kenneth Zarrilli of Fairfield, CT and Josephine DiNardo of Easton, CT.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, March 24, from 10 to 10:45 AM at the Morris Funeral Home, 40 Main Street, Southborough.
A funeral Mass will follow at 11 AM at St Anne Church, 20 Boston Road, Southborough, followed by a burial in the Southborough Rural Cemetery
Finally, Vinny loved animals, especially his favorite dog, Svi. In lieu of flowers, we are sure our father would be grateful for any contributions friends and family could make to MSPCA Angell, 350 S. Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02130 https://www.mspca.org
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