Final Cadence

  Charlie Mariano '51

Elizabeth L. Gassett '47 of Brockton, MA, died unexpectedly on April 3. She was 83. For 38 years, Gassett worked as a secretary and was the organist and music teacher at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brockton. She leaves two daughters, Geralyn F. Davis and Carolyn A. Phelan.

Nicholas C. Capezuto '50 of Tewksbury, MA, died on December 30, 2008, following a long illness. He was 81. Capezuto served in the U.S. Navy as a trumpet player in the U.S. Navy Band. In addition to performing with several big bands, he owned and operated two hair salons. He leaves his son, Christopher Capezuto, and daughters Alexis Capezuto and Amanda Pascarella.

Multi-woodwind instrument player Charlie Mariano '51 of Cologne, Germany, passed away on June 16 after a long battle with cancer. He was 85. Born in Boston in 1923, Mariano was drawn to the big band music of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, and later to the bebop sounds of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He served as a military musician for two years during WWII and subsequently studied at Schillinger House (now Berklee) where his fellow students were Herb Pomerory, Quincy Jones, and Ray Santisi. He did several short stints as a Berklee faculty member in 1957, 1965, and 1969. While teaching at Berklee, he met and married pianist/composer Toshiko Akiyoshi. They had a daughter, Monday Michuru, before divorcing in 1965. Mariano returned to the faculty for a year in 1975, before relocating permanently to Europe.

Through the years, Mariano played with countless jazz greats including the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Shelly Manne, and Charles Mingus, and an array of European musicians including Eberhard Weber and Philip Catherine. Mariano was profiled in the 1998 film Charlie Mariano's Jazz World and in the 1993 biography Tears of Sound. In addition to playing saxophone, he played the nadaswaram, a double-reed instrument from India. He was an early advocate of jazz-rock fusion and of blending elements of ethnic folk music with jazz.

He leaves his wife Dorothee Zippel Mariano; daughters Sherry, Zana, and Cynthia Mariano, Melanie Lamar, Celeste Perrigo, and Monday Michuru; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Craig S. Oakley '71 of Binghamton, NY, passed away on May 30 at home surrounded by his family. He was 58. Oakley was the concert and jazz drummer for the NORAD Band, stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. Throughout his career, he traveled often and, after concluding his military duty, continued to play music, teach drums, and work at Sanmina-SCI.

Ralph Milo '73 of Everett, MA, died on March 28 after a struggle with cancer. He was 64. A woodwind player, Milo had studied with Joe Viola and played professionally and at his church throughout his life.

Robert Lynch '82 of Little Falls, NJ, passed away on May 27. He was 49. An avid guitar player, he was a member of the School of Rock in Hackensack and worked in the Internet communications sales field.

John Thomas Smith '84 of Boston, MA, died suddenly on December 3. For approximately 10 years, he was the house drummer and band leader at Wally's Café. He also worked as a counselor for troubled children at Hayden school and at the Boston Herald. He is survived by his son, Michael Rashad Mobley-Smith, and daughter, Briana Marcia Lindsey.

Dennis McGackin '04 of Freehold, NJ, passed away at his home on May 21. He was 27. A staunch Boston Red Sox fan, he was employed at Dick's Sporting Goods. He is survived by his parents, Dennis and Kathy, and two sisters, Kelly and Courtney.

Christopher Francis Ross of Newtonville, MA, passed away February 9. He was the founder and president of Chris Ross & Associates, a manufacturers' representative firm specializing in audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, and contracting to the broadcast markets. He leaves his life companion, Maureen Whalen Balboni, Balboni's daughter, Jessica, and his parents, James and Theresa Ross.