Family Login:

Henry W. Botte, Jr.
  • Melrose High School Permanant Scholarship Fund
    P. O. Box 760695
    Melrose, MA 02176

Share This Obituary
Resources

Arrangements made by

Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
Get Directions

Profile of Gately Funeral Home

View Phone Number

Send Flowers
 Send Flowers


Memories & Candles

“Maria & family, Sorry for your loss, the entire family is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Joanie & Rich ”
1 of 14 | Posted by: Joanie Pecorelli - Punta Gorda, FL

“My condolences to the Botte family. Growing up in the neighborhood I always remembered his brisk walking pace and cheerful hello and asking how you...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: Michael Durant - SC - Friend

“My deepest sympathy and condolences to he entire family. ”
3 of 14 | Posted by: Joel Dube - Danvers, MA

“Michelle and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. I am honored that I got to meet and chat with your Dad over the years. The obituary was a...Read More »
4 of 14 | Posted by: Kathy and Tom Sacco - Stoneham, MA

“We have lost one of the neighborhood's dearest friends. He was always a pleasure to chat with, listening to his flying stories.Prayers for all the...Read More »
5 of 14 | Posted by: George S Hickey - Stoneham, MA

“Oh,Henry,what a fine, big life you lived. All the qualities that make a good human being were in you. We won't be traveling with you and Peg to The...Read More »
6 of 14 | Posted by: Kit and Michael Kane - FL

“My sincere condolences to Peg and all of Hanks loved ones. May the special memories you hold in your heart bring a glimpse of joy to you as you...Read More »
7 of 14 | Posted by: Nancy Mehlem - Boston, MA

“Our deepest heartfelt sympathy to his family. Such fond memories of Hank. He will be deeply missed. ”
8 of 14 | Posted by: Joan and David Botte - Haverhill, MA

“Peggy, Maureen and I are sorry to learn Henry has passed away, your family and the Allens were friends in Malden and I was a classmate of Peggy's and...Read More »
9 of 14 | Posted by: Frank Vitale - Safety Harbor, FL

“So sorry to hear he is gone. He and Peg were great neighbors. He will be greatly missed ”
10 of 14 | Posted by: Bonnie Cronin - Mitchellville, MD

“To all of the Botte family, I send sincere condolences and love. Mr. Botte was a great man. ”
11 of 14 | Posted by: Joanne Johansson - Fort mill, SC

“Condolences to the Botte family. After reading the obituary you can see he had a full life. You have many memories to remember your husband and your...Read More »
12 of 14 | Posted by: Marie Wood - Nokomis, FL - Friend

“My condolences to the entire Botte family. I have very fond memories of your dad - always so friendly, fun, humorous, warm and welcoming. As a kid...Read More »
13 of 14 | Posted by: Daniel M. Pallotta - Topsfield, MA

“Hank was a dear friend these past 58 years. I'll always remember all the times we sat in Dunkin doughnuts drinking coffee and recalling memories of...Read More »
14 of 14 | Posted by: Robert Grimaldi - Wakefield, MA


Henry William Botte, Jr., died peacefully in his sleep on October 6, 2019. He lived in Malden and Melrose, Massachusetts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Ogunquit, Maine.

Born in Malden in 1935 to Mary (Krukonis) and Henry Botte, he leaves behind his "girl" and wife of 59 years Peggy (Taggart) Botte of Melrose; his children, Linda O'Koniewski and David Bubier of Melrose, Laura Botte and Phelan Fretz of Burlington, Vermont, Tom Botte of Boston, Marie Elena Botte and Dan Weissman of Melrose and Michelle and Kevin Walsh of Melrose and his sisters, Maryanne Babineau of Reading, June Carroll of Wakefield and Diane Mayo of Stoneham. He was pre-deceased by his brothers Robert, Thomas (Father Gregory), and John Botte. He was blessed to have a cherished, lifelong friendship with William Ciano of Florida, who, in one of the great mysteries of life, died an hour before Henry.

He basked in the love of his grandchildren: Robert, Brian and Katherine O'Koniewski, Ramsay and Caley Fretz, Sophia and Maya Weissman, and Abigail and Elizabeth Walsh.

Henry graduated from Malden High in 1953, received his BS from Boston College, 1959, and added a master's degree from Boston State. He served in the Korean War, US Navy, Radar. Not one to seek approval from his ship's officers, Hank did win the Captain's praise for his successive wins in naval competitions that required radar men to calculate the whereabouts of a fictitious submarine enemy. He was honorably discharged in 1956 with a National Defense Service medal.

Open-minded and well read, Hank went back to school under the GI Bill in the early 70's studying literature and history. He continued to take classes until the school's dean insisted he graduate; He had triple the credits necessary. Hank worked six days a week alongside his father at Paramount Optical on School Street in Boston for almost three decades, then opened Botte Optical with his beloved cousin James Botte on nearby Bromfield St in 1984. He retired in 2000. He and his wife traveled extensively with his brother, Father Gregory, who led tours of European opera houses and the Holy Land for his Toronto parish.

His deep and fond memories of his own Nonna and Papa Nonna in East Boston led him to revere his role as Papa, one in which he truly excelled. This was evident in the way he treated his own children and grandchildren, but also in his interest in and constant encouragement of their friends as well, and in the obvious joy he radiated in the company of any child, everywhere he went. He reminded his own children, "It's my job to spoil them, it's your job not to let me." He found great joy in 'gathering the troops', and treated all available family to dinner at Caruso's in Melrose every Friday night for many years until it closed. He eagerly attended grandchildren's sporting events, concerts and art shows. Everyone within earshot knew he was a proud Papa, and hearing loss made his praise especially loud. Thanks for listening.

He lived by a handful of personal codes: "Let your conscience be your guide," was his advice to his growing children on their way out the door, along with "Better to ask for forgiveness than permission". His presumption was that they would act honorably, with kindness towards everyone; beyond that rules were a hindrance to autonomy. As the father of five, when tension surfaced he'd simply smile and declare, "Fight nicely." His gentle admonitions fostered personal responsibility, thoughtful awareness, and a spirit of openhearted adventure in his children and beyond. He boasted that he was the only CCD teacher ever fired at his church despite a desperate need for instructors. He chalked it up to not following the catechism exactly. His children suspect it was probably the best CCD class the church ever offered.

Everyone was welcome in his home and at his table at any time and without notice (his children brought friends to live with the family for months at a time) and he steadfastly refused to take sides in family feuds. Family Dinner was sacred time, and included real –world math problems and logic puzzles; the dictionary was sought if a definition were required. He frequently took the opposite view of his wife when current affairs were discussed to inspire debate, leading his children to believe that they disagreed on most everything. But this was just his own way of challenging his children to think for themselves and think things through, Jesuit style, from their earliest days.

Supremely confident in all matters and unswayed by public opinion or consensus, he punctuated all of his email and texts with "LOL" which to him meant "Lots of Love". Recipients found it awkward and amusing when it was attached to unpleasant news, but having inherited a stubborn streak from his Lithuanian mother, he would not bow to the convention of "Laugh Out Loud". A staunch supporter of the women in his life, he married and cherished the finest woman he ever met and loved to regale his daughters with tales of his own mother's strength and independent spirit. A math whiz who could still work out a geometry problem or recite Kipling into his eighties, he loved WWII movies, classic films, chocolate covered cherries, 2 pound lobsters, listening to opera and reading a good book. He was a great friend, a doting husband, an encouraging father and an indulgent Papa.

Dad's soapbox would include a reminder to be an organ donor. He is undoubtedly delighted that at the age of 84 he is able to donate tissue to heal another. As he reminded those around him, "I won't be needing it any more."

Henry will be remembered for his devotion to family, his provocative jokes, his keen mind and his love of simple foods that sparked memories of his childhood. His children, grandchildren and wife were fiercely, proudly, and meaningfully loved by him. Deeply catholic, private and traditional, he insisted on no eulogy at his funeral, but gave his children

continued...