OBITUARY: Pamela A. Ciavarra, 80

Pamela Anne (Holmgren) Ciavarra passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her family on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, after recently celebrating her 80th birthday.

Born on Jan. 9, 1943, she was the only child of Eric and Florence Holmgren. Pam grew up in Swampscott not only with her loving parents but two very special people, her grandmother, “Gram,” and her “Auntie,” who also lived with Florence and Eric.

Pamela A. Ciavarra

After graduating as part of the Class of 1960 from Swampscott High School, Pam headed off to Tufts University. While there, she discovered her love of education and the arts. Pam graduated in 1964 with a B.S. in education and a minor in art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. More importantly, while there, she met her husband of 57 years, Paul Ciavarra. They shared a love for the arts, culture and creativity, Paul with his abstract view of the world and Pam with hers, always perfect and precise. They were the perfect pair. They married on Sept. 30, 1966, at St. John’s Church in Swampscott.

They settled into a historic home in Old Town in Marblehead that was the embodiment of Pam and Paul. It was homey, welcoming and filled with all their art and crafts. Pam loved “207”; she was always proud to share its history and “quirks” that made it so unique.

Pam was the consummate host and innately knew how to make people feel comfortable. Many wonderful neighbors moved in and out of that neighborhood, and Pam stayed in contact with many of them for years to come. 

After college, Pam became an art teacher in the Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield for many years until she shifted her energy to her biggest joy and accomplishment in her life, raising her three children.

An only child herself, she constantly reminded her kids of the gift of family and siblings. Pam loved being a mother — she was truly her happiest being able to instill incredible traditions, homemade meals, and paid attention to every detail on even the smallest of occasions.

Her handwritten notes are legendary, and she found a way to make anyone who had the pleasure to meet her feel special. Pam was always happy, always smiling, and taught her kids empathy and kindness. 

Pam was over the moon when the grandchildren started to arrive, and they affectionately called her “PamPam.” She had special bonds with each of them. She loved being around this next generation, and her patience and kindness allowed her to meaningfully connect with each of them.

This was especially evident at “camp,” a lakeside home in New Hampshire her parents built in the 1940s and she and Paul rebuilt in 2005. To PamPam, “camp” was heaven on earth. It was filled with memories of her childhood where she had a group of friends around the lake she remained close with until she passed. This group grew up together listening to music, water skiing and fishing on the lake — all things she passed onto her kids and grandkids.

PamPam always made time to show and teach the kids the camp way and instilled the same love she shared to the rest of her family. Camp will forever hold a piece of PamPam and be the family’s happy place.

Pam is survived by her husband and best friend, Paul V. Ciavarra; a son, Christopher Ciavarra, and his wife, Dr. Amanda Daniel, of Nashville, Tennessee; her daughter Cybil Morin and her husband, Michael, of Marblehead; and her daughter Cass Taylor and her husband, Adam Taylor, of Swampscott; and six grandchildren, Luke Morin, Jack Morin, Piper Taylor, Clementine Taylor, Eric Ciavarra and Etta Ciavarra. 

A celebration of Pam will be held at Star of the Sea Church in Marblehead on March 11 at 12:30 p.m. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared for the Ciavarra family at

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