Anne Marie (Zarrella) Shields
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Gloucester - Anne Marie Zarrella Shields passed away peacefully on January 11, 2020, one month before her 90th birthday surrounded by her family. Anne was born and raised in Somerville, Massachusetts. After graduation, she worked at the John Hancock Agency in Boston until she married in 1951 and moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts, raising five children. A more wonderful mother could not be had!! Anne was known for her hospitality and anyone who knew her can attest to the fact that she would drop everything to help a loved one. She especially loved to cook. Her home was an open café. On Saturdays she served a delicious lunch of Italian cold cut sandwiches with a special tomato salad, desserts and tea. Anne worked for Action Inc. for 20 years and her loving, hard-working reputation resulted in constant clients that she never forgot during the holidays. Anne enjoyed walking and continued to do so until well into her 80s. She could often be seen in the chill of winter walking the boulevard in her down coat and earmuffs.
Anne was a modest person and she had talents that were largely unknown. One was her joy in writing poetry. When she became ill and moved in with her daughter, Linda, she was encouraged to start writing again. Since her nursing home stay, Anne had become something of a poet laureate there. She wrote poems for family, friends and Seacoast staff. She was a leader at poetry meets and her poetry was requested by others for memorial services. So, touched by this, a special poem was written by her friend Cathy and read in her honor at a poetry meet in 2018.
Lastly, the phrase "it takes a village" comes to mind when we think of how lucky our mother was in family and friends. Although the nursing home was the last place, we thought she would go, our mother did it with grace, strength, and independence despite intense tragedies and disappointments. She was determined to craft a life for herself which included helping others. She was an inspiration to the people working and living at Seacoast.
A special thanks to the entire staff at Seacoast Nursing Home for their wonderful care and kindness.

Anne was predeceased by her husband, Russell; son, James; and brothers, Vincent and Anthony. Family includes daughters Linda Shields Swicker and David, Dianna Shields Benson and Farrell; sons John Shields and Gail, William Shields and Nancy; grandchildren, Benjamin Swicker and Ashlie, Andrew Swicker and Irene, Autumn Benson, Kyle Benson and Stephanie, Bryan Shields and Kelley, Marc Shields, Hannah Shields, Jennifer Shields O'Leary and Tim, and Christopher Shields; great-grandchildren, Milo, Elliott, Henry, Noah, Delilah, CJ, and Colton. Anne also leaves two sisters: Helen Drago and Marie Whynott, Also, Joyce Shields, Virginia Madruga, Velma Madruga, Gail Scola and Robert Whynott; friends Ray, Judy; and roommate Janice Prince; and many, many other family and friends.

A special Mass will be held at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 9:30 a.m., which will be followed by a family and friend gathering to be announced at the church. All family and friends are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of one's choice.
Published on January 14, 2020


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Jan 19, 2020
IT was always a pleasure to see your Mom at seacoast with my Mom.She was a LOVELY LADY!!GOD BE WITH YOU AT THIS TIME OF SADNESS.Sincerely Joanne Mitchell
Paul DeAngelis
Jan 18, 2020
Although I was too young to have really known Anne as a young person, I happily reconnected with her several years ago. I immediately loved her and felt her love for me. My sisters and I talked about visiting her and taking her to lunch in the Spring. As happens with many things in life, we never got to visit. Anne was a sweet and lovable woman. We are sorry she is gone.
Sincerely, Paul, Toni, Rita, Dolores, Barbara, Albert--your cousins
Judy Keith
Jan 17, 2020
I miss you Ann and keep looking for you in your room at Seacoast. You were a sweet and gentle woman, a model to us all. Love you, Judy ad Ray
James McGovern
Jan 15, 2020
So sorry about your loss.
My heart goes out to you and your family.
Jim McGovern
Jim McGovern
Jan 15, 2020
So sorry to hear about your loss.
My heart goes out to you and your family.
Jim McGovern