EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 27, 2013

Robyn M. Zappala, 52

Burlington, VT — Robyn M. Zappala, 52, of Burlington, Vt., died suddenly at her home on Tuesday evening from complications related to Systematic Scleroderma, which she bravely battled for over 10 years.

Born September 7, 1960, in Methuen, Mass., Robyn was the daughter of Jeri and Fred Zappala of Methuen. She attended St. Rita's Grammar School and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1978.

Robyn attended Carlton College in Minnesota, and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University in 1982. She continued her education and received her Master's Degree of Fine Arts from Arizona State University. Robyn then went on to work at the University of Vermont for 25 years including her most recent role of Degree Audit Analyst.

Robyn was extremely intelligent and had an incredible sense of humor. She was kind, gentle, caring and always put others concerns ahead of her own. Robyn was always overly generous with the best and most amazingly humorous and unique gifts! The highlight of Christmas and birthdays were always to see what she had gotten for you.

Robyn had a private and unassuming personality, but she was a talented writer and a published poet. She loved reading books. She was a staunch advocate for fellow employees going through adversity and would always step up and stand up on their behalf. She found it easier to support and give care for others more than she ever did for herself.

Over the years in her role in the Registrar’s office at UVM, Robyn worked and assisted to make sure students got credit for courses and transfer credits and was able to help thousands of students graduate and receive their diplomas.

Despite Robyn’s diagnosis of Systematic Scleroderma over 10 years ago, she had an unrelenting perseverance to continue living a normal life. The fact that she worked right up until the day she passed away is a testament to her strength and determination. As a matter of fact, over the last several years, Robyn overcame some prior fears and challenges to live her life even more fully! Robyn conquered her fear of flying and went on a trip to England with her brother, Fred, in 2011. She flew several times to visit her parents wintering in Florida and most recently attended a large family gathering for Fred’s Golden Jubilee in Disney in December 2012. After not driving for almost 30 years, Robyn got her license and a car in 2009 to be more independent. She would visit her parents in Methuen and attend holiday and family events, which will be forever remembered by the family.

As well as her parents, Jeri and Fred, Robyn is survived by her brothers, Chuck of Londonderry, N.H., and his wife, Jeannie, Fred of Long Beach, Calif., and Mark of Manchester, N.H.

Robyn was very close to all of her family, especially her God Children, Derek of San Diego, Calif., Jessica of Manchester, N.H., and Jonathon Costello, formerly of Andover, Mass.; nieces and nephews, Colleen Fauth and her husband, Jon, Michael and grandnephew Anthony, all of Londonderry, N.H., and Matthew of Manchester, N.H. Robyn was also very close to her aunt, Sandy, and her predeceased uncle, Ronnie Lanouette of Methuen. She is also survived by other aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family wishes to thank Robyn’s close friend, Brookes Cowan, and also to acknowledge Emily Carter, both of Burlington, Vt. Both were among Robyn’s most important and special relationships and she treasured babysitting, spending time, and enjoying life with Emily and the Carter family.

ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are invited to visit on Sunday, July 28, at Cataudella Funeral Home, 126 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen, for calling hours from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by a brief memorial service starting at 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Robyn Zappala’s name to the New England chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation at SFNE, 462 Boston Street, Unit 1-1, Topsfield, MA 01983.

For directions or to leave an online condolence, please visit www.cataudellafh.com.