NORTH ATTLEBORO – One of the Attleboros’ most recognizable faces has passed away. Sylvia Witschi of North Attleboro died peacefully surrounded by her loving family, close friends and dedicated caregivers on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Madonna Manor Nursing Home at age 83.
Sylvia was the daughter of the late Jack and Anna Witschi.
Sylvia was born in North Smithfield, RI and moved to North Attleboro at a very young age. Sylvia was a graduate of North Attleboro High School, Colby College and Boston University where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music education. Upon graduating from Boston University, she taught music first in North Attleboro and then in Lincoln, RI until her retirement.
Sylvia was a highly regarded educator. She was exhuberant, kind and passionate about teaching. She spearheaded many creative plays and performances and was admired by students, colleagues and supervisors. Sylvia was proud of her long teaching career and loved her students. Whenever there was a child in need she was always one of the first to help.
Sylvia also had other fascinating careers. With her parents and two brothers, Sylvia ran Jack Witschi’s Sports Arena and Witchi’s Giant Flea Market both in North Attleboro.
Her parents and brothers, Ernie and Bill, could be seen with Sylvia on Friday nights at the wrestling matches and Sundays at the flea market.
The Witschi family was host to some of the most famous wrestlers in the world including Andre the Giant, Chief Jay Strongbow and Bruno Sammartino.
In its day, Witschi’s was the venue to see the biggest and most popular wrestlers. Many of the music greats also played at Witschi’s. Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Glenn Miller and Johnny Cash were just some of the luminaries that starred at the arena.
Sylvia was a founding member of Attleboro Little Theatre, now known as Attleboro Community Theatre. She was one of the driving forces in the growth and success of the group. Whether starring in a play, directing or handling props and costumes, Sylvia gave it her all.
She was the lead in many productions including “Annie”, “Anything Goes”, “Steel Magnolias” and her personal favorite, “Mame”. In “Mame”, Sylvia had over 24 costume changes which she handled with the grace and professionalism of a seasoned Broadway star.
In her retirement, Sylvia discovered a new passion: television commercials. Her most well-known commercial was a parody of “The Antiques Roadshow” for a local furniture company. Sylvia portrayed a customer displaying an armoire that suddenly crashes to the floor. Her delivery and expression were unforgettable and earned her more work in commercials and recognition throughout the viewing area.
Among Sylvia’s other interests were traveling and sports. She loved Aruba and Hawaii and enthusiastically followed her beloved Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
Sylvia’s post retirement wardrobe consisted mainly of all things Red Sox or Patriots.
Sylvia also had her private pilot’s license for many years.
She is survived by her older brother, Ernest Witschi of Hudson, FL. Besides her parents, Sylvia was predeceased by her brother, William Witschi.
Sylvia’s visitation will be held on Monday, April 23 from 12noon until 2 p.m. followed by a service in the funeral home at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery & Arboretum, Attleboro Falls.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Madonna Manor would sincerely be appreciated at 85 North Washington Street, North Attleboro, MA 02760.
Sylvia’s family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, CNA’s, therapists and the entire staff at Madonna Manor. Sylvia received excellent care delivered with unparalleled kindness and compassion.
In an interview with the Sun Chronicle newspaper on July 24, 2006, Sylvia was quoted as saying “I’ve had a hell of a good life. You know if I dropped dead tomorrow I don’t think I missed much.” Sylvia indeed lived an exciting life and she did not miss a thing.
To sign an online guestbook for Sylvia, please visit www.sperry-mchoul.com.