By Cary Shuman
They came to David Solimine Jr.’s beautiful home on Joel Circle Sunday to celebrate the Solimine-Melanson family reunion Sunday afternoon but there was no question who the centerpieces of this wonderful gathering were.
David Solimine Sr. and Mary Jane (Melanson) Solimine were honored on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary at their son’s home at the party that drew family and friends who paid tribute to a special couple who have made Lynn their home, currently residing on Belmont Avenue.
“It was exciting, in a word, spectacular,” said David Sr., reflecting on the day. “Mary Jane and I couldn’t be happier. The turnout from both families was tremendous.”
The true 60th anniversary date is October 12, 2017, but the four Solimine children – David Solimine Sr. and his fiancé Magnolia Contreras, Susan Solimine, Diane Edgett and her husband, Alan Edgett, and Kristen Steriti and her husband, Dr. John Steriti – and 14 grandchildren – decided that the summer would be a perfect time for a family gathering. And Mother Nature cooperated fully with a big dose of summer sunshine – with a swimming pool serving as an oasis for some guests, not to mention an outdoor basketball court.
David and Mary Jane met on Cape Cod 61 years ago.
“I’m from Lynn, she’s from Salem,” said David Sr. “In the summer of 1956, we met at the Mill Hill Club on Cape Cod in West Yarmouth. She was there with some friends and I was there with some of my associates from the Air National Guard at their camp at Otis Air Force Base. We hung out a little bit and the ladies visited us at the base. I made sure to get her phone number.”
David said he eventually called Mary Jane in January (1957) and asked her on a Saturday dinner date. The couple enjoyed dinner at the Edison Hotel in Lynn and dancing at the Candlelight Club on Route 1 in Danvers.
“That was that,” said David Sr., knowing that he had found his mate forever. “The next night we went out tobogganing at the Happy Valley Golf Course (now Gannon) with a bunch of my friends.”
Said Mary Jane, “Oh yeah, it was love at first sight. By the second date, we knew it was right.”
The couple became engaged on April 17, 1957 and David and Mary Jane were married on Columbus Day (Oct. 12, 1957) at the former St. Joseph’s Church in Salem. The reception followed at the Happy Valley Golf Course. They traveled to Miami Beach for their honeymoon.
A lifelong Lynn resident and 1953 graduate of Lynn Classical High School, David Solimine Sr. founded Solimine Funeral Homes in 1965. He is known citywide as an active community leader and generous donor to a number of causes. He is an outstanding community organizer and an ambassador for the Item Santa Fund.
Mary Jane is also a highly respected community leader who volunteers her time for Sacred Heart Church and other organizations. She is a member of the Knotty Knitters group that assists charities. The Solimines have lent their name and support to co-chair events for such prominent organizations as My Brother’s Table and Catholic Charities.
“I was a very fortunate young man to land her,” said David. “She’s been an unbelievable wife, mother, and grandmother. I’m bragging a little bit, but our children and grandchildren are good to each other and take care of each other and are good to others. Nobody in this family ever has to worry about who’s going to pick them up at the airport if they go someplace.”
From their first meeting on Cape Cod to their 60 years together in Lynn, David and Mary Jane Solimine have been a credit to this city and to their loving family.