June 30, 2008

Remembering Angelo

Angelo Lapadula, who died at age 91 on Friday, always had a smile.
A West End institution and one of the most active Democrats in town for longer than anyone in the party can remember, Lapadula’s death marks “the end of an era,” as former Water Board Chairman Joel Wulff put it on Monday.
“He’ll always be remembered,” former Mayor Frank Nicastro said. “There should be more like him.”
The longtime Park Street resident served the city for more than 40 years, including long stints as a water commissioner and the sealer of weights and measures.
“Angelo epitomized citizen involvement,” said Mayor Art Ward, who praised Lapadula for his activism in the community in many areas.
“He set an example for everybody,” Ward said, with his mild demeanor and his willingness to work hard without bothering who got the credit.
“Angelo always dwelt on the positive,” Wulff said. “If he saw something that was wrong, he took action to correct it.”
“If he saw a political beginner being led astray, he would quietly take steps to meet with the victim and offer his insight,” said Wulff, a Republican. “He didn’t do it for the glory. He did it because it was the right thing to do.Nicastro, who knew Lapadula for more than 60 years, said “Angelo was like a second father to me.”
“I’ll really miss him,” Nicastro said. “He was always there for me.”
Nicastro said that in one of his early mayoral runs, Lapadula made 3,000 meatballs for a pasta fundraiser. He said that he couldn’t believe it, but it turned out that they were needed to serve the 1,295 people who turned out.
Lapadula was long one of the most active Democrats in town and his party named their top annual honor for service to the city party after him.Wulff said that Lapadula “was a Democrat, but he was an American first” – and he didn’t let politics get in the way of good government.
Bob Badal, the current Water Board chairman, said that Lapadula was “a very decent man” who always “brought people together.”
He sad that Lapadula was extremely conscientious about fulfilling his duty as a water commissioner, once showing up in golf spikes on an icy winter night so that he wouldn’t slip on the treacherous walkways.
“As we mourn his death and try to offer sympathy to his family in their very personal and immediate loss, the best we can do is to salute his life and give thanks for having known him and been touched by his soul,” Wulff said.
Ward said that Lapadula, who was buried Monday, was “completely dedicated to his family, especially his wife, Fanny.”
“ If anyone is looking for a role model for life, Angelo was the man,” Wulff said.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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