Monday, November 23, 2015

Ronald Henry Giovannacci - Topsfield Tories

TOPSFIELD- Mr. Ronald Henry Giovannacci 82 of Topsfield, Retired Chief of the Town of Topsfield Fire Department, beloved husband of the late Shirley Ann (Burkinshaw) Giovannacci, died Friday, September 25th, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family.

Born in Beverly, he was the son of the late Henry and Blanche Marie (Coullard) Giovannacci. He was raised and educated in the Town of Topsfield and was a graduate of Topsfield High School, class of 1950. He continued his education attending North Shore Community College studying Fire Science.

Chief Giovannacci began his professional career with Wood Engineering of Topsfield. He constructed and built fire apparatuses for many years in the Town of Topsfield. He then became the Superintendent of the Topsfield Fair Grounds, a position he held for several years.

Throughout his adult life, Chief Giovannacci was involved in Fire Safety for the Town of Topsfield. He held every position in the Department over the course of his career. He began as a call fire fighter in 1955 and was promoted to Call Chief in 1982. He was appointed the Town of Topsfield's first full time Fire Chief in 1985 holding that position until the time of his retirement in 1997. He dedicated his life to protecting and aiding the residents of his beloved Topsfield. Throughout his years of service Chief Giovannacci always placed the lives of the residents of Topsfield and his brother fire fighters above all else.

Chief was a Past President and member of the Essex County Fire Chiefs Association, the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association and the International Fire Chiefs Association.
A lifelong, 3rd generation resident of the Town of Topsfield, Ron was a well-known and acclaimed athlete in his younger years. He was a Hall of Fame and All Star baseball player in the Inter Town Twilight League for many years. He even garnered interest from several major league ball clubs. 

He was a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Topsfield and truly loved his community. He had a passion for animals especially his beloved dogs and horses. Yet above all else family was paramount. He truly enjoyed spending his time with his son and daughter and was very proud of their accomplishments.

Ronald is survived by his son, Topsfield Fire Chief Ronald P. Giovannacci and his wife Susan of Topsfield, his daughter, Linda M. Statkus and her husband Michael of Hollis, N.H., his five grandchildren, Ashley, Kelsey, David, Jessica and Kristen, his sisters, Rita Englert of Florida and Lauris "Lolly" Giovannacci of Maryland and several nieces and nephews. He was the grandfather of the late Kaitlyn Giovannacci and brother of the late David P. Giovannacci.

ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held from the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home 167 Maple St., (Rte 62) Danvers, Monday, Sept 28th at 9:30 A.M. followed by his funeral Mass in St. Rose of Lima Church, Park St., Topsfield, at 10:30 A.M. Relatives and friends invited. Burial in Pine Grove Cemetery, Topsfield. Visiting hours Sunday, Sept 27th from 4 to 8 P.M. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Chief Giovannacci's memory to the Topsfield Firefighters Relief Association, 27 High St., Topsfield, MA 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Elbridge Gilford

ITL Hall of Famer / Topsfield Tory Elbridge Gilford has passed away.

TOPSFIELD- Mr. Elbridge H. "Gilly" Gilford III, 95, of Topsfield died Friday, November, 20th, 2015 at Beverly Hospital surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he was the son of William H. and Minnie S. (Currier) and the beloved husband for 62 years of the late Iva Grace (Taylor) Gilford. He had two brothers, William and Ernest, and a sister, Bernice. In 1928, his father traded their Nebraska home for a Studebaker and they made their way back to their native New England.

After graduating from Topsfield High School, Elbridge enlisted in the US National Guard in 1941, and later the Army of the US Air Corp where he earned the rank of Corporal. He worked as a radio operator and installer around the world. An honorably discharged veteran, Mr. Gilford proudly served his country during World War II.

In 1946 after his discharge, he returned to Topsfield and founded Gil's Grocery, a landmark that still exists today. Gilly went to the store daily for lunch and visits with friends and neighbors, including the day of his death.

A longtime resident of the Town of Topsfield, Mr. Gilford was an active member of the community serving as Town Selectman and as a member of the American Legion Post # 255 of Topsfield. He was the Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade and, for many years, the catcher/first baseman of the Topsfield Tories, later serving as coach for several more years. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Inter-Town Twilight League. Gilly loved baseball.

A well-known and generous man, Mr. Gilford believed in serving his country as well as his community; he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, who will be truly missed by his family and the many friends whose lives he touched over the years. A friendly smile and greeting was always the first thing anyone received upon entering Gilly's, his store, a legacy which he and Grace have passed down to their children. He will be remembered for his dedication to his country and family, his athletic talents and his kind and compassionate nature.

Elbridge is survived by his two daughters, Marsha Robinson and her husband John of Portsmouth NH and Polly Croteau of Topsfield, his son, Jim Gilford and his wife Martha of Topsfield, his three granddaughters, Jennifer, Heather and Emma, his three great-grandchildren, Hannah, Scott and William, and several nieces and nephews.

ARRANGEMENTS: His Funeral Service will be held in the Congregational Church of Topsfield, East Common St., Topsfield, Wednesday, Nov. 25th at 3 P.M. Relatives and friends invited. Following the service all are invited to a collation in the Emerson Center, 9 East Common St., (Directly across the Town Common) Topsfield. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (rte. 62) Danvers, Tuesday, Nov. 24th from 4 to 7 P.M.. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion Post # 255, P.O Box 243, Topsfield, MA 01983 or to the Topsfield Athletic Association 76 Wenham Rd., Topsfield, MA 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit