Larry Marino— one of Dot’s great boosters— dead at 56

Larry Marino: Loved Dorchester and promoting it through social media.Larry Marino: Loved Dorchester and promoting it through social media.Dorchester lost one of its most passionate and energetic volunteers last Saturday night. Larry Marino, 56, died suddenly from an apparent heart attack at his home in Lower Mills. His death sparked a wave of grief and disbelief across his adopted neighborhood, which Mr. Marino had dedicated himself to promoting — often through social media projects— in recent years.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Larry’s Funeral Mass, which will be said a week from Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. at Saint Gregory’s church. A celebration of his life will be held after the Mass at Florian Hall.

Mr. Marino, who ran his own small business— Lower Mills Web Designs— had become a fixture in that part of Dorchester since moving there several years ago. The Lawrence native and Navy veteran lived most of his last 19 years in Dorchester, including Fields Corner. Last year, Mr. Marino co-founded Cash Mob Dorchester, a Facebook-based group that sought to support small businesses in Dorchester by organizing coordinated shopping trips on a chosen day. The group, which he launched with close friend Carlos Vargas of Vargas and Vargas Insurance, quickly drew a strong response online and helped new merchants find a toe-hold in a tough economy.

The volunteer Cash Mob initiative was just one of many civic pursuits that Mr. Marino threw himself into in recent years. He devoted an extraordinary amount of his time to supporting organizations, including the Lower Mills Merchants Association — which named him Merchant of the Year in 2011. He surrounded himself with a tight-knit group of like-minded civic leaders who became close friends, including Vargas, Meetinghouse Bank president Anthony Paciulli, Cedar Grove Gardens owner Richard O’Mara, Rick Doherty, and Savin Hill crime watch leader Peter McNamara. The group frequently met socially and hatched plans for new promotions aimed at improving Dorchester’s business and civic environment.

“He just loved to do good and to help other people,” said Vargas. “He gave of his time and treasure without even giving it a blink. For him, it was a calling and a love.”

Mr. Marino, the father of three adult children, lived with his longtime partner Lisa Hyde and his beloved dog Morgan, whom he was often seen walking around Lower Mills.

Larry’s sister, Dona Villandry, of Hudson, NH, said that her brother was one of six children in a very close Italian family in Lawrence. He attended Holy Rosary School and graduated from Lawrence High School. Before beginning a 14-year career in the US Navy, where his assignments included service aboard the USS John F. Kennedy CV67 and video crew chief and editing work with the Navy Broadcasting Service in Washington, DC.

“We were taught by grandmother that family is forever,” recalled Dona this week. “Larry learned how to cook from his grandmother and he loved nothing more than cooking for the family.”

When Larry’s brother Michael passed away several years ago, Dona says, the loss prompted a change in Larry.

“Larry seemed to come out of his shell and he got more in tune with the community. He loved being there.

He was always so excited about the Cash Mob thing, the Dorchester parade, the holiday stroll. He was so excited all the time about Dorchester and the people he met there.”

Marino, an avid skier and instructor, was also a very proud member of the Boston Crusader’s Senior Corps, the drum and bugle corps. He started playing the trumpet while he was a second grader and never stopped, according to his sister, who is also a longtime member of the Crusaders. Most recently, he had learned to play the euphonium for the band.

“The Crusaders are one big loving family. We hang out together and go away on weekends and Larry was also the one doing the cooking at the cookouts, or working the table. He will be so missed,” Dona said.

Larry, who was divorced, was a devoted dad to his son, Joshua, and his partner Nicole Clifford of Portland, Maine; his daughter, Staci Thiboutot and her husband Al, of Topsham, Maine; and his daughter, Stephany Marino, and her partner Mark Gagnon of Maine. Larry leaves two grandchildren, Jeremiah Marino and Felix Thiboutot of Maine; and his sisters Dona Villandry of Hudson, NH; Debbie Boda of Londonderry, NH; Grace Marino of Nashua NH; and Cathy Marino and her partner ,George LaBonte, of Pelham, NH; his nephew, Ron Villandry ,and his partner, Marie Nault of Manchester, NH; his niece Kalli Boda of Londonderry, NH; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Vargas says that his friends will find a way to permanently memorialize Larry, possibly by naming the annual merchant of the year award in his name.

“Larry loved the village and Lower Mills and all of the great people. He loved that village feeling and being a part of the fabric of the village. And he was a big part of it.”

In lieu of flowers a donation can be made in Larry’s memory to the “Help Us Help Our Kids” program of the Crusaders Senior Drum & Bugle Corps of Boston, c/o Matt Warner – Secretary, 84 Bigelow Street, Quincy, MA 02169.