Eastie mourns passing of activist Peter Cardinale

Peter Cardinale, a longtime community activist and fixture on East Boston community group boards, has died.

Mr. Cardinale died Tuesday, February 9 surrounded by his family. He was 96 years old.

Mr. Cardinale was born and raised in East Boston and spent his life in Jeffries Point where he, along with his late wife Joann Cardinale, became a tireless advocate for his neighborhood.

Mr. Cardinale attended East Boston schools before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

As a resident lifelong resident of Jeffries Point, Mr. Cardinale for decades spent his time fighting for more neighborhood parks, rallying against Logan Airport expansion, and supporting community groups, nonprofits and his neighbors–usually with his wife Joann by his side before her death in 2014.

He was a longtime member of Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association as well as a board member of the Piers Park Advisory Committee (PiersPAC)–a legislatively mandated group that oversaw the construction and maintenance of Piers Park I and the sailing center as well as the design and funding of Piers Park II and other treasured open spaces in Eastie like the Bremen Street Park.

Those who worked alongside Mr. Cardinale and his late wife remember the duo as stellar PiersPAC board members who were held in high esteem and worked tirelessly to see that the superb and pristine condition of the parks were maintained at all times.

Mr. Cardinale was also a longtime member of Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association and was never shy to speak his voice on controversial issues but always did so as a gentleman and with grace. Mr. Cardinale never spoke ill of anyone and never raised his voice but gained the respect of those in the room with his opinion.

Mr. Cardinale was also an avid supporter of neighborhood events and was a regular at East Boston’s large community wide celebrations. He was also an avid political supporter of local elected officials and was a fixture at campaign kickoffs and fundraisers.

“Peter was a community hero, an American hero, and always had a great joke to tell,” said Piers Park Sailing in a statement. “Jeffries Street won’t be the same and we will miss him dearly.”

Mr. Cardinale’s grandson, East Boston YMCA Executive Director Joe Gaeta said, “Thank you, Papa, for everything you taught me. Every time I tie a tie, I will remember you. Thank you for paving the way for many and assisting with the man I am today.”

Neighbors of the Cardinales, the Doyle Family, commented, “We are forever blessed and beyond grateful that we had Peter in our lives. Such a beautiful soul he had and we feel fortunate to have known such a wonderful man. Our sadness feels less sad when we talk about all our memories because everyone knew that no matter what was going on in life Peter had a way of making you laugh and smile. We will forever love and miss him. Jeffries Point will never be the same.”

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