January 1, 1970 - October 6, 2004
Middlesex News Article
HOLLISTON — Joseph Damigella Jr., a 20-year Finance Committee member, 10-year school building committee member and devoted community volunteer, died Wednesday of cancer at the MetroWest Medical Center’s Natick campus.
Damigella, 85, a lifelong resident of Holliston, was called by many a “model” of community service in action. He served on dozens of town boards, founded the Holliston Oil Co. and was a 52-year member of the fire department.
Damigella’s wife, Pauline L. (Diani) Damigella, 84, died Jan. 30 at MetroWest Medical Center’s Natick campus. They were married for 62 years, and together started the Holliston Oil Co. Son Joseph Damigella III now runs the company.
“He definitely has been the influence on my service to the community,” said his son Selectman Carl Damigella.
The elder Damigella also served on the Board of Directors of the Framingham Savings Bank. He enjoyed York Beach and summers in Maine.
Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said Damigella was “absolutely devoted” to the community. “I would be willing to guess there was not a year in his adult life he was not involved on community boards,” said LeBeau.
It’s reported he did not miss a meeting in the 22 years he sat on the School Committee, from 1960 to 1982. Damigella also sat on the building committees for every school renovation and building project of the past 30 years.
School Building Committee Chairwoman Susan Haley said Damigella only missed meetings when he was in the hospital. “He was a dear man. Our meetings will not be the same without Joe,” said Haley. “He wanted the best for the town and the schools.”
Damigella was on every building committee subcommittee, and during the past year even personally inspected the Fred W. Miller School roof for a renovation project, Haley said.
When Finance Committee Chairman Will McColl moved to town almost 10 years ago, he said he was impressed at how closely Damigella stuck to his work.
“Joe Damigella’s footprints and handprints were already there, and he had been doing it for decades since I got here,” said McColl. “Whatever he decided to do, he was committed.”
Damigella served from 1943 to 1995 on the fire department, and retired as captain of Engine 2, said Fire Chief Michael Cassidy. He was the past director of the Ambulance Service.
After retirement, Damigella advocated for the department as the Finance Committee liaison, and was on-call even during his final years, Cassidy said.
“He was extremely supportive of me both individually and professionally. He modeled community service and volunteerism for several generations, and will be sorely missed,” said Cassidy.
Damigella was noted for his generosity helping many organizations, including the schools, by hosting fund-raising spaghetti dinners.
He also was a member of the Fire Department Building Committee, Columbus Society, Holliston National Honor Society (honorary member) and the Holliston Boy Scouts.
“Joe was the first one to step up to the plate,” said former Town Clerk Nancy Norris. “His first love was the schools.”
A former member of the Holliston Lions Club, Damigella received a “Lion of the Year” award.
In 1998 he was honored with a Good Scout award by The Boy Scouts of America. In 1999, the then-new softball field at the Robert Adams Middle School was named after him.
Damigella also received a Jaycee Distinguished Service Award, was named Male Citizen of the Year 2002 during the Celebrate Holliston town festival.
Born in Framingham, he was the son of the late Joseph and Louise (Maggiore) Damigella. He is survived by his sons; Joseph Damigella III and his wife Beverly of Holliston, Carl Damigella and his wife Caroll of Holliston; daughter Paula Gerson and her husband William of Florida; sister, Frances Niose of Bellingham; seven grandchildren, Scott, Kevin, Kristin, Lynn, Matthew, Melanie and Holly and six great-grandchildren. He was the brother of the late Sebastian “Henry” Damigella, Rose Lobisser and Carmella Plaistowe.
A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday, Oct. 11, 2004, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, Washington Street, Holliston.
Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Holliston.
Calling hours will be Sunday, Oct. 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Chesmore Funeral Home, 854 Washington St., Rte. 16, Holliston.
Donations in Damigella’s memory may be made to either the Holliston Pantry Shelf, 23 Water St., or the Holliston Fire Department Gift Account, 59 Central St., Holliston, MA 01746.
Holliston – Joseph J. Damigella, 85, died October 6, 2004 at the MetroWest