Remembrance Project Honors Unsung Heroes Among Us

June 1, 2016

The Remembrance Project on WBUR celebrates the lives of ordinary people from New England and around the United States who lived extraordinary lives. While the rich and famous have well-read obituaries, there are lesser-know but special people among us who have lived amazing lives, are well-loved by those who knew them, and whose stores should not go untold.

45393042_sOrdinary but special people such as Ralph McPhee, legally blind and cognitively impaired, who was a ward of the state of Massachusetts since he was a young child, but who forged a family with his state appointed guardian until his death at 91; Louise “Lulu” Finocchio, one of the first female buyers for Filene’s, who was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease at 59 and became “Miraculous Patient #11” after an extraordinarily positive response to electroconvulsive therapy and died at the age of 79; or Catherine Malatesta, a 16 year old junior at Arlington High School, who bravely fought a rare cancer and got ready for her high school prom in her hospital bed, but did not live to see graduation.

The creator of The Remembrance Project, a WBUR series produced by Amory Sivertson, is Elissa Ely, a writer and psychiatrist who worked for decades with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and is now a contributor for WBUR, Boston’s NPR radio station, among other jobs. Ely combs the small print obituary columns to find those special people that she features on the weekly series.

If you’ve lost one of those extra-ordinary people within the last year and would like to suggest your loved one to be featured on The Remembrance Project, please share your memories with Ely by contacting her at It could be someone from Boston, New England or anywhere in the United States, as The Remembrance Project is growing into a national project.

Photo credit: dimaberkut /


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