OBITUARY

Dianne J. "Gigi" Ranno

July 28, 1964December 17, 2018

Gigi Ranno passed away peacefully on December 17, 2018, surrounded by those she loved. She is survived by Karen Nichols, her partner of 28 years, and her sisters, Louise Thompson of Orlando and Nancy Carlston of San Francisco.

Gigi was an athlete, philanthropist, CCD teacher, and world traveler, but what she was most of all was the essence of joy. Her smile was legendary and her love of life and people was contagious. At work, at church, and in the neighborhood, Gigi was known for her irrepressible good cheer and her thoughtfulness.

Gigi believed that whatever one’s abilities, they ought to be able to participate in all that life offered. She helped those who lived with disabilities to ski, skate, bike, kayak, and fully enjoy the public parks and lands through her work at the Universal Access Program of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Gigi received a Lifetime Helmsman Award for her leadership role in establishing the Universal Access sailing program on the Charles. She was featured in The Boston Globe’s City & Region section on July 13, 2007, shown sailing with the grin we all know.

For many years, Gigi was a top fundraiser and participant in the MS walk. In addition to a number of charity races, she completed the Vermont City and Marine Corps marathons.

Gigi liked to be silly, enjoyed Disney and comedies, winning at cards, Qwirkle and every other game she played. Once an accomplished athlete, Gigi never lost her competitive edge. Words With Friends kept her connected and her competitors on their toes.

Perhaps Gigi’s defining quality is that she managed to see the best in everyone. Her absence leaves a hole in a great many hearts.

Gigi earned a BA in Sociology from Boston College in 1986 and worked as VP and Managing Editor at Bob Adams Media before becoming Program Coordinator at the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The Celebration of Gigi’s Life will include a mass at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2019, at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Norwood, followed by a reception nearby. Details to come.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the ELC Foundation (elcfoundation.org) to support the needs of MS patients.

Services

4 May

Celebration of Life

11:00 am

St Catherine of Siena Church

547 Washington St
Norwood, Massachusetts 02062

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Reception to follow - details will be announced
REMEMBERING

Dianne J. "Gigi" Ranno

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Chandreyee Lahiri

January 2, 2019

The memories i will particularly treasure of Gigi was her conversations with my young son the few years we volunteered at the accessibility fair at Artesani Park . She took him along with him as I worked a stall. He helped out as his age would allow and she constantly chatted and laughed with him, modelling what true resilience and cheer is. She told him about her life, her lessons-learnt and how to conduct himself. I believe he heard her. Her annual visits to DCR colleague cubicles with that one chocolate wrapped in a burst of colorful tissue was symbolic of her: cheer exploding out from a small center of solid goodness. I can still see her grin and i think, always will. Gigi will continue to shine down on us, from wherever she has. She has left many lives brighter for her presence.

Marcy Marchello

December 31, 2018

Gigi has been and will continue to be missed by so many in the Universal Access Program. She was instrumental in developing and coordinating new programs in eastern Massachusetts, including horseback riding, sailing and our annual adaptive recreation fair. Her buoyant personality made her a shining ambassador for participants at our programs. She always made people smile and laugh, providing a welcoming energy to all throughout her 15 years working at DCR , including her last appearance at a program. Her perpetually upbeat attitude while living with progressive MS continues to be an inspiration for me.

marcos pittore

December 27, 2018

About twenty years ago I came in my office and discovered someone in a wheel chair putting chocolates on my desk! What a wonderful surprise. Gigi and I had a conversation, which led to the revelation that my wife has MS. Gigi was very encouraging to me and remained so over the years, always inquiring as to my wife's health even as Gigi's was slowly declining. I just returned to find her chocolates on my desk for one more time. Thank you for everything and your encouragement, Gigi. We will miss you very much, and the chocolates! Adios, Amiga!

Vin Micozzi

December 22, 2018

I will miss you, your smile your laughter and mostly you quick wit, You made working with you so much fun. I will miss you and miss our bantering session. The events you are responsable in planning will not be the same with out you there. RIP your suffering is over.

Charlie Zechel

December 21, 2018


It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Gigi. Gigi was instrumental in creating and supporting the Universal Access Sailing Program at Community Boating (CBI). In the summer of 2006 Gigi offered herself to test out various boats and equipment for use in the program. She would come to CBI and we would help her into and out of boats and take her sailing to learn what worked and what didn’t. She allowed us to pick-up, put-down, push, pull, squeeze, and drag her in every possible way, all while displaying her tremendous humor, wit, charm, and dignity.
When it came time to launch the Universal Access Sailing Program in 2007, it was Gigi who championed the program at the DCR which provided initial funding to buy boats and equipment and essential programming assistance. Gigi’s spirit can be felt everyday at CBI when a sailor with a disability goes sailing. Their smiles, their enthusiasm, and their joy are true testaments to Gigi’s love and care for others. Gigi, we miss and love you.

Fair winds,
Charlie Zechel
Community Boating Inc.

Margot Mays

December 21, 2018

Gigi was a colleague at DCR and a bright and shining addition to my day when we crossed paths. Steadfast and earnest in her commitment to public service, it is without exaggeration to say that she should be held as an example to others. May time offer strength to those that loved her, so that they may herald Gigi’s gifts to us all. How grateful I am to have called her a friend. With much admiration, Margot

Maggi Brown

December 20, 2018

Gigi was a bright and shining light- cheerful, generous and positive. We enjoyed some great visits in the Blue Hills over the years. We would laugh together and marvel at the beauty of nature or share stories of our families, especially our amazing mothers. Gigi was always kind and thoughtful- truly an inspiration. She will be dearly missed.

Kevin Allen

December 20, 2018

Gigi was a steadying constant at DCR Headquarters. The thoughtful deliver of chocolate at Christmas, her biting and honest sense of humor, a laugh that left absolutely no doubt who was down the hall, and an inspirational positivity that left a lasting impression on everyone who met her. She will be greatly missed and I will forever cherish my memories of our talks about family, travel and the meaning of life.

Noel Herman-Gutierrez

December 20, 2018

Gigi was generous with her friendship. I will always remember her stopping by my desk to share her sense of life's wonder and joy. She was a beacon of everlasting hope and a true, powerful example of the strength of human spirit. Rest in Peace Gigi.

Gary Briere

December 19, 2018

Gigi was a colleague at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Her unfailing good-humor was an inspiration and a model for her colleagues, friends and family. She was truly a joy to be around. She will be missed but never forgotten.

Biography

Gigi Ranno passed away peacefully on December 17, 2018, surrounded by those she loved. She is survived by Karen Nichols, her partner of 28 years, and her sisters, Louise Thompson of Orlando and Nancy Carlston of San Francisco.

Gigi was an athlete, philanthropist, CCD teacher, and world traveler, but what she was most of all was the essence of joy. Her smile was legendary and her love of life and people was contagious. At work, at church, and in the neighborhood, Gigi was known for her irrepressible good cheer and her thoughtfulness.

Gigi believed that whatever one’s abilities, they ought to be able to participate in all that life offered. She helped those who lived with disabilities to ski, skate, bike, kayak, and fully enjoy the public parks and lands through her work at the Universal Access Program of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Gigi received a Lifetime Helmsman Award for her leadership role in establishing the Universal Access sailing program on the Charles. She was featured in The Boston Globe’s City & Region section on July 13, 2007, shown sailing with the grin we all know.

For many years, Gigi was a top fundraiser and participant in the MS walk. In addition to a number of charity races, she completed the Vermont City and Marine Corps marathons.

Gigi liked to be silly, enjoyed Disney and comedies, winning at cards, Qwirkle and every other game she played. Once an accomplished athlete, Gigi never lost her competitive edge. Words With Friends kept her connected and her competitors on their toes.

Perhaps Gigi’s defining quality is that she managed to see the best in everyone. Her absence leaves a hole in a great many hearts.

Gigi earned a BA in Sociology from Boston College in 1986 and worked as VP and Managing Editor at Bob Adams Media before becoming Program Coordinator at the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The Celebration of Gigi’s Life will include a mass at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2019, at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Norwood, followed by a reception nearby. Details to come.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the ELC Foundation (elcfoundation.org) to support the needs of MS patients.