OBITUARY: Salvatore (Sal) R. Albano, 87

Below is an obituary from Doherty Funeral Service:

SOMERVILLE, MA — Salvatore (Sal) R. Albano died peacefully on Saturday, October 1, amongst family who loved him dearly. He was 87.

Sal was born on March 11th, 1935 and raised in East Somerville, to Italian immigrant parents, Elena (nee Macera) and Cosmo, an East Somerville store owner.
He graduated from Somerville High School in 1953, lettering in football. In 1958, Sal earned a history degree from Boston University, making him the first and only person in his family to finish college. He married Gloria Marazzi, also of Somerville, that same year, and was subsequently inducted into the US Army which stationed him in Pirmasens, Germany during the Berlin Crisis. Upon being discharged in 1960, he and Gloria moved back to the United States, ultimately settling in East Somerville where they remained for the next 30 plus years. After obtaining a Special Education teaching certificate from Lesley College, Sal began his professional career as a high school special ed teacher (Wilmington Public Schools), and remained one, on and off, until retirement.

Along the way, he officiated high school and college football, coached youth hockey, directed teen centers in Beacon Hill and East Somerville, opened and operated two different restaurants — a clam shack in White Horse Beach in Manomet, and a bar and grille in Everett — and importantly, became civically active before finally entering Somerville politics, first as a six-term Alderman-at Large, and then as a three-term state senator for the 2nd Middlesex District, serving Somerville, Medford, and Winchester.

Sal will be remembered as an honest, highly principled maverick politician who was at the forefront of Somerville’s transformation from a 1960s bastion of political graft and corruption to an All-American City, and its emergence as one of the most successful municipalities in the Commonwealth.

In particular, he will be remembered for becoming state senator by defeating then House Majority Whip, Vincent Piro, who entered the race, despite being under indictment after becoming ensnared in an an FBI sting operation and accepting a bribe from an undercover federal agent. After being narrowly defeated by Piro in the primary, Albano staged an unlikely, though successful write-in/sticker campaign in the General Election. He remains the first and only person to be elected to the Massachusetts Senate as a write-in candidate.

He was an unapologetically liberal Democrat motivated by his compassion for those less fortunate. He was a powerful consumer advocate, a champion for working families, organized labor, public health, and public education. As state senator he led the passage of the Education Reform Act, The Seat Belt Law, and The Lemon Law. He was the Massachusetts Nurses Association Legislator of the Year. A George McGovern and Ted Kennedy delegate at two Democratic National Conventions, he also strengthened laws that curbed public cigarette smoking, and was an advocate for a single-payer healthcare system long before the term was popularized.

He will also be remembered for his size, loud voice, his gentle heart, his love of cooking, food, and family — which if you spent any time at the Albano house on Mount Vernon Street, especially around the holidays — you know went together.

In addition to his wife Gloria, Sal is survived by his daughter, Julie Abruzzio, of Peabody and her husband Robert; his son, Michael, of Chelsea and his wife Eden Edwards; sisters Connie Babicz and Ann Masi both of Plymouth and Rosalie MacDonald of Somerville; seven grandchildren: Salvatore, Andrea, Angelina, Elena, and Alessandra (with daughter-in-law Leeann Albano), Chris Abruzzio (wife Kelly), and Lauren Sears (husband Jesse); five great-grandchildren: Shea, Charlie, and Quinn Abruzzio, and Nolan and Lennon Sears; and many nieces and nephews. His son, Peter; sister Fran Marchetti; and brother Louis preceded him in death.

Family and friends were invited to visiting hours Monday, October 10, from 3:00 to 7:00 PM at George L. Doherty Funeral Home at 855 Broadway in Somerville. A memorial service was be held on March 11, 2023. Burial will take place Tuesday AM at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: The Somerville High School Foundation, c/o Senator Salvatore & Peter Albano Scholarship, P.O. Box 440272; Somerville, MA 02145.

Salvatore R. Albano

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