Everett,  January 19 2018

The epitome of the American Dream

Frank J. Mastrocola laid to rest at 92

By James Mitchell

 

This past week, the Mastrocola family lay to rest their patriarch, Frank Mastrocola, a successful local businessman and longtime civic leader, following a long and fruitful life, at 92–years-old.

Surrounded by his loving family, wife of 69 years, Gloria, and his children, Mr. Mastrocola passed on January 12 at the Leonard Cohen Estates in Chelsea.

On Wednesday, his son, Frank Mastrocola, Jr. read his eulogy fitting for a Hollywood screenplay with heroic war battles fought in the trenches of WWII, hard work, unbridled optimism, and deep-rooted family pride.

Frank, one of seven siblings, was born to parents Rocco and Maria in their home near the tracks on Parlin Street in Everett, raised on the value of hard work from his mason father, living by what Frank, Jr. called “profound maxims” heard around the family home: “He who sleeps, catches no fish” or “no man is an island” – that one lives in a community with others, connected by family, love, and God.

Growing up in the loving family home, now located across from the Mandolese’s Bakery on Ferry Street with his three brothers and three sisters, Mr. Mastrocola would grow up fast going from playing fullback on the undefeated 1943 Everett High School football team to the beaches of Okinawa as a member of the US Marine Corps 1st Marine Division where tragedy struck the family when his brother, Peter was killed in a kamikaze attack offshore.

According to his son, “His time with the First Marine Division, fighting some of the war’s longest and worst battles, had a lasting and positive impact on who he would become. If there ever was a character building experience, he got it in the Pacific. At 18-years-old, he reached down deep and found out what he was made of. He knew who he was; and, he knew almost anything was possible.”

Upon his return following the war, Mr. Mastrocola married his longtime sweetheart, Gloria Pierotti, and began his domestic and professional life as founding president of Master Fuel Co., delivering oil heat and heartwarming relationships to his customers for 30 years.

At the age of 54 he sold the oil company business and founded Travel Master, Inc. which he ran for a decade before retiring.

Accepting his responsibility with total dedication, Mr. Mastrocola, recalled by his son, when the phone rang in the middle of the night, he got out of bed and went. My mother would say, “Don’t go” – but he would reply, “I have to.”

With an overwhelming lifelong sense of community pride in Everett, Mr. Mastrocola served along with his brothers, Vinny and Ron in the Kiwanis Club of Everett as a distinguished past president and board member.

According to his son, Frank, Jr., “He believed in getting involved and giving back; he accepted every invitation to chair a committee, to organize, to lead numerous civic groups and organizations in the city. He was always giving his time to help one group or another.”

So many local businesses, educational, civic, fraternal, and church organizations were the recipient of his endless time, money, and concern.

A longtime member of the St. Anthony’s Church Parish, Mr. Mastrocola was an usher for the Sunday 9 AM Mass.

Despite the backlash from a competitor, I found myself sitting at a table in the Parish Hall Church on Broadway with many Everett business leaders as a guest speaker of the Everett Kiwanis, which is where I soon discovered many of the city’s most successful and outspoken members of the business community. Many who are still my friends and fellow Kiwanians to this day.

Once I became a member, I would sit and enjoy lunch with Frank and his brothers, who at first seemed more like the “fun uncles” whose company you always enjoyed at the holiday family gatherings.

But, there was always a serious side to being a Kiwanian. Despite the frivolity of the luncheon, the matter of serving the community took the forefront – the reason why we were sitting in that basement hall.

One day, looking frazzled by the usual weight of my fledgling newspaper’s workload, in the levity of the parish hall luncheon, I looked over at Mr. Mastrocola, and, reading the frustrated look on my face,  with a smile he leaned over and said, “Just keep going forward, you’ll be okay.” That was 16 years ago – and I’m still publishing and grateful for those kind words of wisdom – that positive look of optimism. That was Mr. Mastrocola – a man of few words but a look that spoke volumes.

Frank Mastrocola was Everett in every possible sense of the word. Just looking at him, you knew he was a man who had lived a life straight from a Hollywood movie – a neighborhood kid who came from a proud and loving home, the star fullback, the tough Marine who witnessed the horrors of war for his country, a man who would return home to raise a family and start two successful businesses, all the while giving back to his community – the city which gave him his start. The epitome of the American Dream – the life of a true hero – the life of a great American.

I am truly grateful to have known him – may he rest in peace.

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