Middleton – Thomas R. J. Daris…

Middleton – Thomas R. J. Darisse, 67, of Middleton, passed away on June 30, 2018 at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, after a short illness, surrounded by his family. Born in Salem, MA on December 27, 1950, Tom was son of the late Joseph Darisse and Jeannette (Motard) Darisse. He was one of 11 children.
Raised and educated in Salem, Tom graduated from Salem High School, Class of 1968. He attended Salem State University, Merrimack College, and North Shore Community College where he received his COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant). Tom worked for many years in the travel industry: Garber Travel and Ask Mr. Foster in Salem and The Travel Desk in Middleton.He later began a career in occupational therapy. He worked at Shaughnessy-Kaplan Rehab Hospital in Salem and at Class Inc. of Lawrence and North Reading MA providing services to individuals with disabilities.
Tom was a member of the Lynn Photographic Association, the New England Hosta Society, the Middleton Historic Commission, and the Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professionals. He was also a docent in the ACCESS program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he conducted tours for persons with disabilities.
Anyone fortunate enough to have known Tom knows that he had a sense of humor like no other–quirky, sometimes bizarre, often self-deprecating, but always aimed at bringing forth laughter and a smile from all who were in his presence. A round- the-world traveler, Tom had adventures all over the globe, but his fascination, curiosity, and appreciation for things much closer to home were just as important to him. His daily adventures, urban explorations, dutifully recorded on social media, forced us to smile (or laugh!), to look at life a little bit differently, and to see things we might otherwise overlook. He had an eye for finding meaning and appreciation in the simplest of things. With his beloved DannyGirl at his side, each day presented a new opportunity to get out and explore and find something new about this world.
His transition from providing others with wonderful travel adventures to helping others with disabilities highlighted his beliefs in the innate goodness in everyone and their right to be treated with dignity and respect. With his kind and gentle heart and sharp wit, his work with those less fortunate than he made a world of difference in their lives. He eagerly looked forward each year to arranging the obstacle course for the Special Olympics, making sure each athlete had his/her chance to shine. He was a model therapist, admired and emulated by his many co-workers.
Tom’s wonderful spirit touched everyone he met and inspired them to see life in a more joyful way. In today’s world could there be any greater gift than that? To celebrate Tom’s life, learn from his example. As Tom would say, “Quit yer bitchin’ and get outside every day and learn something new.” Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be nice to people. See beauty and meaning in simple things. Finally, the irony of his demise would also certainly have not escaped him, “A tick? Really?!!”
Tom is survived by his devoted wife of 38 years Linda (Coughlin) Darisse, his son Edward (E.J.) Darisse and his wife, Caitlin (Mackin) Darisse of Melrose, his granddaughter Eloise Darisse, and his beloved dog, DannyGirl. He is also survived by his siblings, Sr. Claudette Darisse, SASV, of Waterville, Maine, Andre Darisse and his wife, Barbara of Ipswich, Marie-Theresa Walters and her husband, William of Salem, Paul Darisse and his wife Myrtle of Beverly, Marc Darisse and his wife, Carmen of Salem, Elaine Pelletier and her husband, Richard of New Smyrna, FL, Michelle Girard and her companion Robert Tache of Salem, and Joseph Darisse and his wife Brenda of Topsfield, 25 nieces and nephews, 33 great nieces and nephews, and his sister-in-law Joanne Dudley and her husband, William of Apex, North Carolina. He was predeceased by his sister Jeannine, his brother, Guy, and his sister-in-law, Donna Melin.
Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours at Levesque Funeral Home, 163 Lafayette St., [Route 114 / 1-A] Salem, MA on Sunday, July 8, 2018 from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, 24 Conant St., Danvers, MA on Monday, July 9th at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Tom’s memory can be made to The Arc of Massachusetts, 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453. For guestbook and additional information, please visit

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