It was a tough few days for East Boston as two great men that brought smiles to thousands of faces over the years passed away.
First Eastie said goodbye to Salvatore “Smiley” Mattera who died on Tuesday, Dec. 31.
Smiley was a longtime supporter of Eastie’s Pop Warner program as a volunteer, assistant coach and all around champion of the program.
Mattera, who lived on Havre Street, was also a fixture year after year at Eastie Pride Day. Every year during the neighborhood event, Smiley was always busy cooking hundreds of hot dogs for the hungry masses at the event held at Piers Park.
“Smiley was the best,” said Eastie Pride Day founder and former City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “I never had to call him to ask him to volunteer because he was one of the people we could always count on. He was one of the best guys around and was always willing to help anyone who needed it. He was a dear friend, and will be missed by all who knew and loved him.”
Smiley was also present at numerous other neighborhood celebrations like the District A-7 Halloween Party on Paris Street around the block from his home. It would bring Smiley great joy to hand out candy to all the kids in the neighborhood during the annual event.
Smiley was also known for his dry sense of humor and could bring a smile to anyone’s face by simply making an observation or a quick joke about certain situations.
“I’m so sad to hear of Smiley’s passing,” said Celeste Myers. “He was a gentleman and a true community caretaker. My most sincere sympathy to the family. Rest in peace Smiley.”
Then on Friday, Jan. 3 the community lost Peter Felt who died suddenly at Mass. General Hospital.
Mr. Felt brought joy to children, adults and seniors alike each and every Christmas season playing Santa Clause during Eastie’s tree lighting ceremonies, caroling events and special holiday luncheons and dinners.
Although Mr. Felt grew up in Revere and lived in Winthrop, he was committed to numerous organizations here in Eastie as a volunteer. He would play Santa for the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and, a few weeks before Christmas, play Santa for dozens of children and adults with special needs at an annual dinner at Spinelli’s.
Mr. Felt wouldn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, listen to a story or share a story with you.
“The life God has given me has grown my family far beyond people that are blood,” said Jose Ruggiero III. “The impact (Peter Felt) had is endless. I was blessed to know you and love you. You’re always with us Peter Felt.”
Mr. Felt was also an advocate for those struggling with addiction. At the time of his passing he had 44 years of sobriety under his belt.
“Thank you, Peter Felt for always having your hand out and always willing to help another who was sick and suffering,” said Ann Marie. “They don’t make them like you anymore. You will be so missed.”