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Sam Gringeri '47 of New Port Richey, FL, died January 19 in Palm Harbor, FL. He was 80. A singer and guitarist, Gringeri formerly led the group Sam and the Music Makers. He also worked as a truck driver and ran his own landscaping business. He leaves his son, Samuel Gringeri; a daughter, Jean Gringeri-Reed; and five grandchildren.
Salvatore DiPerri '48 of Wakefield, MA, died on February 28 in Burlington, MA. He was 79. DiPerri was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in World War II. A pianist, he attended Berklee when it was called Schillinger House. He later became an engineer and worked at Wakefield Engineering. He leaves his wife, Gilda (Boccelli) DiPerri, and their son, John DiPerri.
Monica Wentworth '50 of Ipswich, MA, died on February 12 at home after a brief illness. She was 74. A lifelong musician, Wentworth played piano and organ in restaurants and hotels, at her church, and as an accompanist for Ipswich Teen Club Minstrel shows. She leaves her husband, Clifton Wentworth; their daughter, JoAnn Wentworth; granddaughter, Alison Parady; and great-grandson, Tyler.
Robert Gear '63 of Charlemont, MA, passed away on February 20 at home after a battle with cancer. He was 64. Gear played baritone saxophone, fiddle, steel guitar, and dobro. He was also interested in horsemanship and livestock. At the time of his passing, he worked at the Shelburne Falls West County News. He leaves his wife, Jane McHale, and daughter, Alice Taylor Gear.
Kevin Howard Smith '77 of Lynn, MA, died on January 18. He was 56. Smith was a professional musician who worked under the stage name of Kevin McGowan for 35 years. A guitarist, he played Celtic, folk, classical, and jazz styles and was also a DJ. He leaves his wife, Gracemary (Corrigan) Smith; stepdaughter, Helenanne Ahern; and stepson, Shaun Corrigan.
Kenneth Adams Merritt '79 of Marshfield, MA, died at his home on April 18. He was 58. Merritt worked as a professional music instructor and performer. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Hancock. He was the husband of the late Billie (Pritchard) Merritt.
Matthew Quinn '80 of Newport, RI, died on May 15 of injuries sustained in a fall at his home. He was 48. An active pianist and composer, Quinn had backed numerous national acts. He leaves his wife Kia Soderstrom. Donations in his name may be sent to the Office of Development, Berklee College of Music,, 1140 Boylston St., Boston, MA, 02215.
Rick Herter '87 of New Hyde Park, NY, passed away on August 10, 2006, after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 44. Herter, a professional tennis player, had lived and worked in Amsterdam until he became ill. Also an avid jazz and classical guitarist, he played until his last day. He leaves his parents, Ray and Aileen Herter, and a brother and a sister.
Bruce Griffin Russell '94 of Charlottesville, VA, died unexpectedly at home on April 13. He was 38. Russell earned his degree in Music Business/Management.
Paul Vinton '03 of New York City, died on April 1 at his home. He was 23. After graduating from Berklee, Vinton, a guitarist, received a scholarship to Juilliard, and completed his studies there in 2006.
Word has reached us that Rose Marie Chessman '84 of Worcester, VT, and her unborn child were killed on July 24, 2004, in a head-on collision. She was 39. Chessman left a daughter, Flora-sae Kim Chessman-Chaplin and her partner, Daniel A. Chaplin.
Rosemary Russell of Winthrop, MA, died in Gloucester, MA, on January 18. For many years, she worked as Berklee's telephone operator in the lobby of the 1140 Boylston Street building and was a friend to many students and faculty. She leaves her husband, Fred Russell.