Agnes (Sapienza) Bain, 70, passed away on December 21, 2019 surrounded by her family at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, of complications from an emergency surgical procedure.
Agnes was born in Lawrence, MA to Mary (Scuderi) and Sam Sapienza on November 26, 1949 after her mother claimed she had a large Thanksgiving dinner. She grew up in a household full of grandparents on Orchard Street until the family eventually moved to East Haverhill Street. She was bilingual, speaking both Sicilian and English without missing a beat. Part of a vibrant Italian community in Lawrence, she grew up with her treasured baby sister Gina and many dear cousins and friends in the neighborhood and enjoyed reconnecting with everyone each year at the Feast of Saint Alfio.
Agnes was educated at Holy Rosary School in Lawrence and Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen, MA (Class of 1967). An excellent student, she went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1971.
In September of 1970, Agnes married David John Bain, Jr. The two moved to Montreal so Agnes could finish her undergrad education and then to Cambridge, MA where they each started their graduate degree programs. Agnes received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University in 1978.
Now Dr. Bain, Agnes began a long career teaching at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. She chaired the Government Department for nineteen years and helped found the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, which she chaired for ten years. She joined Suffolk University in 1974 and retired in 2017 as professor emeritus.
Her area of research centered on community advocacy. Most recently, she co-authored a book, “Partnering with Parents to Ask the Right Questions” with Luz Santana and Dan Rothstein. The book was the culmination of her work with an organization called “The Right Question Institute” which has sought to develop a framework for increasing participation of low-income people in democracy.
As accomplished a career as Agnes had, her lasting impact is her family. She and her husband had their first date in 1968 at a drive-in showing of “The Graduate,” endured the separation of the Vietnam War, and were married forty days after David’s return. David and Agnes have been best friends and partners in crime ever since. They carved out their life together from that moment and had three beautiful daughters Elizabeth, Rachel, and Deborah who will forever remember the legacy of their mother as one of strength, compassion, humor, and grace under pressure. She was their collective best friend.
In 2004, Agnes received a life-saving liver transplant that gave her fifteen additional years with her family and friends. She lived each day as the gift that it was, seeing her family through major milestones and most importantly, the births of her three grandchildren.
Agnes, in the end, loved her role as Nanna more than anything and developed a special relationship with each of her grandchildren.
She is survived by her husband of forty-nine years, David J. Bain Jr., of Lawrence; her three daughters, Elizabeth Bain of Haverhill, MA; Rachel Bain and her husband Marcus Soule of Byfield, MA; Deborah Bain and her husband Grant Marshall of Rowley, MA; her three grandchildren, Katherine Robey, Benjamin Soule, and Nathaniel Soule. She also leaves her sister and brother-in-law, Gina and Jay Kahn of Wilbraham, MA and her sister-in-law, Ann Bain of Baltimore, MD as well as her cherished nephews and niece, cousins, friends, and colleagues.
The family would like to thank Agnes’ medical team at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington for fifteen years of compassionate and excellent medical care. In particular, Dr. W. David Lewis, Dr. Edward Walshe, and Dr. Caroline Simon - each of whom, in addition to providing superb medical care, became a friend to Agnes over the years.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to New England Donor Services (NEDS) at New England Donor Services, 60 First Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451 or online at https://neds.org/give/.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend visiting hours on Friday, December 27, 2019 from 4:00-8:00 PM and Saturday, December 28, 2019 from 10:00-11:00 AM at Cataudella Funeral Home, 126 Pleasant Valley Street in Methuen. Her funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 28, 2019 in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Lawrence.