Wayland Resident and Former Symphony Conductor Dies
- Deceased's name: Michael P. Masailo
- Age: 94
- Date: January 9, 2013
WAYLAND, MA: Michael P. “Maestro” Masailo, an impresario and longtime Bristol, CT music teacher and conductor, died peacefully with family at his side on Wednesday morning, January 9, 2013. He was the devoted husband of the late Elizabeth “Betty” (Pafenbach) Masailo for 47 years.
Born in Norwich, CT, and raised and educated in Meriden, he was a son of the late Peter and Pauline (Mikaluch) Masailo. A natural athlete and musician alike, Mike attended NE Conservatory of Music for his undergraduate degree where he met a young pianist named Betty. Following graduation, Mike’s teaching career began in Deer Isle, ME, and later he enlisted with the US Army in 1942, serving in the Asiatic Pacific and American theaters as a French horn player with the Army Band.
Mike returned to Connecticut and began teaching in the Bristol school system, where he taught instrumental music, conducted the high school orchestra and band, and served as Music Department head. He continued his education at Danbury State Teacher’s College and the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, where he earned his Master of Music Education Degree. During this period, he was reunited with a certain pianist from his past and they married in 1954. Mike and Betty were members of the First Congregational Church of Bristol, where they sang in the church Choir together and he with the Him Singers.
One of Mike’s proudest accomplishments was the founding of the Bristol Symphony Orchestra in 1957, for which he served as conductor until relinquishing the baton in 1982. As a staff member and assistant director of Laurel Music Camp for twenty-two summers and the inspiration behind the Bristol Interschool Orchestra, Mike took great satisfaction in bringing youth together from different schools and communities to create great music. After years of teaching virtually all instruments in the Bristol Schools and privately, Mike retired from teaching in 1985.
In retirement, Mike and Betty split their time between Bristol and Woodwinds, their summer “camp” at Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, NH, which Mike built in the late 1960s. They enjoyed each other’s company and communed annually with friends from their Conservatory days. A renaissance man at the core and full of energy, Mike was a handyman who enjoyed puttering around the camp, playing the French horn in the Wolfeboro Community Band, and participating in the Senior Olympics. He also played cribbage daily with his friends and served as shore rep for the Lake Wentworth Association. It was during these happy days of retirement that Betty became ill, and he devoted himself to her care and was at her side when she died in 2001.
Mike moved to North Yarmouth, ME to be close to family where he spent the next six years as a member of Portland’s 1918 Club, bowling weekly in a senior league, and playing with the bell choir at the Congregational Church in Cumberland. A talented raconteur who loved to entertain and make everyone laugh, Mike became popular with his fellow residents and staff at Sunrise Assisted Living in Wayland, where he lived since 2007. He often led residents in song and even took a turn as “guest conductor” when a local civic music group performed at Sunrise.
His is survived by two daughters, Laura M. Connors and her husband Brian O’Connell of Boston, and Louise J. Masailo and her partner Tom Soisson of Needham, MA; a son, Michael W. Masailo of Bristol; a grandson, James M. Connors of Bayonne, NJ; a sister, Ola Polanski of Meriden, CT; two nieces, Lynn Bernarda and Nan Zavoski; and many loving members of Betty’s extended family. He was also predeceased by a brother, William Masailo.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 19 at 11 a.m., at the Gordon Chapel, Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street, Boston. (Visit www.oldsouth.org for directions and parking suggestions.)
Donations may be made in Mike’s memory to the Lake Wentworth Foundation, P.O. Box 2236, Wolfeboro, NH 03894, or the Circle of Caring at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, 2042 Beacon Street, Waban, MA 02468. For the obituary and guest , please visit www.everettfuneral.com.