Obituary: Michael A. Nazzaro Jr., Former State Representative Credited with Saving the North End

NAZZARO, Hon. Michael A., Jr., A well-respected and prominent member of the North End of Boston, passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2011. He was 85. Born on June 2, 1925 on North Street in Boston’s North End, he was the son of the late Michael and Margaret (Camelio) Nazzaro. He later lived with his family on Endicott Street. He served in the US Army, serving in World War II and was honorably discharged in 1946 as a Sergeant Major. He then attended college at Mount St. Mary’s College (now University) in Emmitsburg, Maryland under the GI Bill, and earned his degree in Economics in 1950. After College, Nazzaro took a job in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington DC as a Business Economist, and also for the Office of Price Stabilization in order to assist in the Korean War effort.
Michael Nazzaro had a promising and successful career in Washington; however, he gave it all up to rescue his neighborhood from the New Boston Committee and the Boston Redevelopment Authority and their plans to demolish the North End – as they had the West End of Boston. He resigned his job in Washington DC, returned home to run for State Representative, and campaigned in order to save his neighborhood, the North End, from Eminent Domain. He lost his first and second bids for a House seat, but persevered in order to passionately achieve his goal. He served in the House of Representative from 1958 through 1964, opened the Nazzaro Insurance Agency. He fought diligently, and without the power of Eminent Domain, the New Boston Committee and the BRA could not touch the North End.
Mike Nazzaro had accomplished what he’d set out to do, and saved his beloved North End. Nazzaro accumulated a productive Legislative record and served in the Legislature until his retirement. Amongst his many accomplishments, he succeeded in ending the insurance companies’ redlining of the North End, and forced these companies to sell policies at reasonable rates to North End homeowners and businesses. He got funding for the North End’s first ice skating rink (on Stillman Street), and had legislation passed to transform Massachusetts Community colleges into colleges that were finally accredited.
He was so proud of his Italian Heritage that he signed a Bill establishing Columbus Day as a bank holiday. He lived on Hanover Street with his beautiful wife, Jean, raised three wonderful daughters, Laureen, Adele and Carla, and was so proud of his five beloved grandchildren. Along with being a loving family man, he was generous and selfless when it came to the people, and always without compensation.
Much of what we take for granted today in the North End, exists because Michael A. Nazzaro, Jr. gave up everything he had to rescue the North End from destruction.
He was the beloved husband of the late Jean Marie (Uva) Nazzaro; loving father of Laureen Anglin and her husband Michael of Medford, Adele Leonardi-LaFleur and her late husband Frederick of Newton, and Carla DiOrio and her husband Berton of Revere; dear brother of the late Lena Nazzaro and the late Louise Hlasny; loving grandfather of Laurie & Michelle Anglin, Frederick LaFleur, and Michael & Arianna DiOrio; brother-in law of George “Joe” Hlasny; and uncle of Pamela Conrado and Dr. Robert Hlasny.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8:45 a.m. at Boston Harborside Home, 580 Commercial St, BOSTON, followed by a 10 AM Funeral Mass at Saint Stephen Church, corner of Hanover and Clark Street, Boston. Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday from 4-8 pm. Parking attendants will be on duty. Interment in Oak Grove Cemetery, Medford. Friends and relatives are respectfully invited to attend all services. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to the Nazzaro Center, 30 North Bennett St., Boston, MA 02113. Boston Harborside Home J.S. Waterman & Son-Waring-Langone