The death of Joseph Festa last week removes one of the most recognized faces in our community. Joe Festa never held any elected office, but was as well known as some of the legendary mayors of our city.
The reason for this vast recognition lies in the fact that Joe Festa was there for everything and everybody.
As the largest local contractor, Festa built more than 300 houses that stand today in the Ward Six area of Revere. In their eulogy, his grandchildren pointed out that Joe Festa did not just build these houses, but chose to live and raise his family in the development that he built more than 50 years ago. Today, these houses and the neighborhoods that they formed are one of the bedrocks of our community.
Two of the most prominent buildings on Broadway, the TD Bank Building and the Citizens Bank Building, were built by Joe Festa.
Joe Festa was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, the Kiwanis Club and a founding member of the Revere Chamber of Commerce.
Joe Festa never gave up on Revere, and put his life’s work into making Revere a welcoming community to all. Perhaps it is that as an immigrant who came to America at the age of 2, he found success with hard work and a good education that America afforded him.
As word spread of Joe’s death last week, Angelo Prezioso of Vinny’s Market summed up the feelings of so many by saying, “ Joe Festa was a class act, always greeting so many by first name with a smile and handshake and always wearing shirt, tie and a suitcoat – even on a Saturday.”
In a beautiful eulogy delivered by his granddaughter, Morgan at St. Anthony’s Church on Tuesday, it was recalled in a bitter sweet way that this was his wife, Camille’s birthday.
As a whole, the community of Revere was a beneficiary of Joe Festa and for many individual residents, who were the recipients of Joe Festa’s upbeat personality, his passing now leaves a void.
May he rest in peace.