Dolores LaMattina, longtime city employee, dead at 85

Mrs. LaMattina was the mother of former City Councilor Sal LaMattina

Dolores LaMattina, a longtime former city employee of the Paris Street Gym and Pool known for her warmth and dry sense of humor, has died.

Mrs. LaMattina who, as a single mother, raised four successful boys including former City Councilor Sal LaMattina, died on Wednesday, February 10 surrounded by her family. She was 85 years old.

Mrs. LaMattina was born and raised in East Boston and attended East Boston. Mrs. LaMattina spent her entire life living at Drake Place just off Chelsea Street around the block from the Paris Street Gym and Pool. There Mrs. LaMattina raised her four boys–Sal, Robert, David, and John.

Sal would become City Councilor while David and Robert opened up a successful karate studio in New Hampshire. John would go on to have a successful career in Boston’s restaurant industry and worked at high end restaurants like Morton’s and Strega.

“She made sure we kept in line,” said Sal LaMattina. “At an early age she got us involved in the Social Centers, the Salesians Boys & Girls Club and Paris Street. We grew up poor. I’m so amazed that she raised four boys in a little house with four on Drake Place. She gave us all a really happy childhood. We never knew we were poor because she was always so generous. I find comfort that my brothers and I had a beautiful mother who loved us so much.  She taught us love and respect not only to our family but with others.”

Mrs. LaMattina worked at Macy’s for many years before making a career change in 1990.

From 1990 to her retirement in 2013 at the age of 77 Mrs. LaMattina worked the front desk at the Paris Street Gym and later at the Paris Street Pool’s front desk.

When her son, Sal, was elected to the City Council Mrs. LaMattina became the de facto Mayor of East Boston and the Paris Street Pool her City Hall.

“Everyone would come to her,” said Sal LaMattina. “They go down to the pool and see my mom  if they needed help, if they needed housing, if they needed a job, if they needed some other assistance and she’d call me with a list of names of people I needed to help.”

Sal LaMattina said his mother was always very generous and always wanted to help people.

Her granddaughter, Liana LaMattina, a former Chief of Staff for Rep. Adrian Madaro and current Assistant District Attorney prosecutor said her grandmother always had the biggest heart she’s ever known. “Every Sunday she would cook Sunday Dinner, make a gravy and it was pretty much an open house,” said Liana LaMattina. “Anyone could come in and get some food…friends, neighbors…that’s just the type of person she was. She was always so caring and compassionate. I remember at the (Paris Street) Gym there was this stray dog that was always outside and every day when she went to work she would bring him leftover food, kitchen scraps, bones, hotdogs..anything she had. She was a beautiful person.”

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