By John Lynds
Frank Durante, a man who epitomized civic engagement as a member of numerous East Boston clubs for decades, has died.
Mr. Durante, a regular fixture and one of the most recognizable faces in the neighborhood, died peacefully on Monday, September 26. He was 89 years old.
Whether it was a Kiwanis awards banquet, a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, an scholarship event for students or simply reading to children, Mr. Durante volunteered countless hours of his own time to helping, improving and uplifting the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of residents both young and old over the years.
Along with his ‘sidekicks’ Albert Buddy Mangini, George Gambale and Rosalie Petralia, Mr. Durante was instrumental over the years in organizing numerous civic groups’ events, fundraisers and social meetings.
Mr. Durante was a gentle, soft spoken man with a generous heart and was never without a smile.
“Frank Durante was a very active East Boston native,” said Chamber President and former Kiwanis President Marisa DiPietro, who worked closely with Mr. Durante over the years. “Throughout his life he was a member of every community group you can think of – Chamber, Kiwanis, K-Trust, Columbus Parade, just to name a few. Frank was never just a member, he was an active participant, always ready to pitch in to plan, organize, and do the “heavy lifting”. He was a true public servant. Frank’s dedication, patriotism, generous nature and love for East Boston made our community a better place to live. A witty man with a great sense of humor till the end, I will miss Frank’s way of infusing humor in every situation. Frank Durante was a man who will be remembered for a very long time in East Boston.
Mr. Durante was born, raised and educated in East Boston. Mr. Durante graduated from East Boston High and attended Bentley College where he received his CPA. He is a World War II Army Veteran.
Mr. Durante was part owner of Meridian Insurance Agency and Consolidated Financial Services in East Boston. He also worked as a Controller at Suffolk Downs
However, it was his dedication to the neighborhood’s civic groups that set Mr. Durante apart in the community.
He was a 40 year member and past president of the Kiwanis Club and was named the Kiwanian of the Year in 2000. He was the founder of the Kiwanis Senior Picnic held each year at Salem Willows in Salem, Mass.
He was a member and past president of K-Trust, a group that would award Eastie high school seniors with scholarship money for college each year.
He was also the past president and treasurer of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce, founder of the Chamber’s Christmas Party for children with special needs, member of East Boston’s Grace Church Food Pantry Drive, board member of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and board member of the East Boston YMCA.