Business People

Salem Street Tailor, Vittorio Recupero, Killed by Drunk Driver on I-95

Vittorio Recupero at his Salem Street Tailor Shop (Photo: Brian Gannon)

Longtime North End tailor, Vittorio Recupero, was identified by State Police as the victim of an I-95 car accident on Tuesday night about 8:30 pm. Recupero’s shop was located at 121 Salem Street.

A 71-year-old Wakefield resident, Recupero reportedly pulled over his Hyundai Tucson in the breakdown lane on Interstate I-95 in the Reading area. State Police reports show he was standing near his car when he was allegedly struck by a Toyota Scion driven by 32-year-old female, Mary Grigoriadis who had reportedly been drinking.

Recupero was pronounced dead at Lahey Clinic in Burlington. Grigoriadis is expected to be arraigned in Woburn District Court for operating under the influence and is being held on $10,000 bail. State Police closed two I-95 lanes for several hours on Tuesday night as part of the investigation and cleanup.

Update 11/20/13: Suspect Mary Grigoriadis has pleaded not guilty in Woburn District Court to charges associated with the incident. Prosecutors said she failed multiple field sobriety tests and registered a blood alcohol level of .13 on a breath test. More at Boston Herald.

38 Replies to “Salem Street Tailor, Vittorio Recupero, Killed by Drunk Driver on I-95

  1. I just saw Vittorio on Friday, he was the nicest man. He always wanted you to stay and talk for a while which I always did. Wish I had stayed longer the last time I saw him. He had amazing stories of the North End to share, he was so proud of his work as a Tailor and his Martial arts. He will be missed!

    1. i want just for victor recupero…….he was killed on 95 north in ma……..justice for victor………..this drunk driver needs to be in jail………………her name is mary grigoriadis from brockton, ma……
      he was a great man, husband, tailor, friend .he will be missed


  2. When our family business was close by his for many years Vinney was the most kindness man who could ever encounter.He was the true meaning of what respect and dignity should be.I remember him as a very extra special neighbor and yes I am proud to say a friend who I wish could have got ton to now even more.I am very saddened and wish all his family,friends,clients all the peace in Gods Universe.Vinney I am very proud to have known.We all will miss you.

  3. Vito was such a caring man to me and my wife. He started as our tailor, and became a friend. He persuaded me to become his judo student and we used to drive together to the dojo in Somerville. I was lucky to get to know him, and I can say he was possibly the most interesting person I’ve ever known. I’ll never forget you, Vito.

  4. Vittorio and his sister Elena have been my landlords for three years now. Vittorio welcomed me into the North End neighborhood as if I was his family and was such a nice, giving person. He always wanted to talk and when we did he told great stories and gave amazing advice. He was the kindest man and it’s an absolute tragedy when something like this happens to such a good person. He loved his family so much and always talked about them. He was always there whenever myself or my roommates ever needed a favor or a helping hand. Vittorio is the definition of a family man and he always worked hard to make others happy.
    My thoughts and love go out to his family <3

  5. Truly a sad, sad day. One of the few old school institutions left in the neighborhood and a wonderful man. My heart goes out to his family. You will be missed, Vittorio!

  6. ‘Victorio’ ….no words to express the sadness of tthis radgedy – I hold my memories of our visits over all these years tenderly and with a smile in my heart thinking of his warmth/and loving friendship. Grateful to have connected with such a lovely human being. Special 🙁

  7. My Uncle was truly an amazing man. His hard work and dedication is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Never once did he fail to hug me so tight, and say “Lisa I love you, you are one of my favorites.” We were all of his favorites, :) but he made each and every one of us feel special in our own way. My uncle was a blessing to be around, from his judo teachings, to his extensive action movie knowledge, to the love he had for his family, and so much more!! I thank each and every person for their kind words, prayers, and support through this awful tragic time. I do ask one thing of every one, think before you get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Put your pride aside and call a cab, a friend, or give your keys up to a sober person. Each drunk/buzzed driver we get off the road is a possible life saved. Zio I will always love you and never forget you <3

    1. Lisa I am so sorry for your loss. Your uncle was such a special man. He was my tailor since I was a little girl and I passed by and said hello to him nearly every day. He was always sweet and made every girl young and old feel like a princess.
      The north end is suddenly a colder place.

    2. Dear Lisa,

      I sat with Vittorio on Tuesday when I picked up a suit. We had coffee and he made me laugh many times with some of his stories.
      When my mother died this summer, he prepared a special suit hurriedly because she was near death.
      Some weeks later, he called me to see how I was doing because he heard my mother had passed.
      I was deeply touched by his kindness because I just met him in August.
      I am heartbroken and I pray for him and you and your family.
      I was blessed to meet him and feel a great loss that I will not see my new friend again.
      I pray for strength and peace for your family.

      Ted Broughey
      7NEWS, WHDH Boston

    3. lisa– please extend my condolences to your mother and your grandmother on my behalf. i would appreciate it. thank you. be well.

  8. This is amazingly sad. I agree with the consensus, Vittorio was a great and nice nice man. I always walked away with some sort of useful lesson after each and every conversation, no matter how short it was. This is a major loss to our neighborhood.
    I realize that its not quite clear yet how this happened, but, even now, with this tragedy, no conversation needed, the lesson learned is to not to only get out of the car when you need to pull over on a highway for any reason whatsoever, but to get away from it as well. And no need to take the risk of changing a flat tire oneself in such a situation. That’s what AAA and all the other road side services are for. Let the people trained for this kind of stuff do it.

  9. My friend Vittorio and I would have lunch just about every day. Coffee, barbecue sausages & vino. We enjoyed each others company and coversation. We could easliy spend two hours discussing “whatever”. We could cheer each other up if life’s problems were causeing us argita. I would watch him work. He was an artist as a tailor. His work was magical transforming poorly fitting clothes into works of art that made the customer look like a million.
    What has been previously said about his devotion to friends and family is a testament to his ethic. There is alot more I could say but I have to end as I can’t hold back the tears. Vittorio your the best. I will miss your dearly. “CIAO, CIAO” Your friend. Paul

  10. He was a supurb tailor, an acomplished Judo instructor and a wonderful human being..God Bless him and his family..Rest in Peace my friend.

  11. My sincere condolences to Vittorio’s family. He was a wonderful human being. I will miss him dearly. A couple of weeks ago, I saw him driving down Prince Street. The news of his death is so surreal. I loved his stories. I remember his telling me that when he was in the service in Italy that he would make uniforms for the officers. He was truly proud of his tailoring, and rightfully so. He was an artist.

  12. So sad, condolences to his family and friends for this loss!

    He has been my tailor for the past few years and I always looked forward to stopping by and picking up my items. Always fun, entertaining and enlightening conversation, he got me thinking to start judo, even offered to drive me to class. I just dropped a item off a few days ago and when I left he made sure to give me a firm hand shake, thanked me for stopping by and mentioned it was nice to see me again. True gentleman and he will be missed.

  13. Sensei and neighbor, thank you for being a wonderful example of leader to the rest of us. we wish you eternal peace and comfort to your family.

  14. I am absolutely stunned. As I wrote on my Facebook page: “I am absolutely rocked to the core by this story ( I saw it on the 11 o’clock news, but didn’t want to believe it was true. I confess, I went to bed. stunned. Vittorio was a North End presence–I couldn’t walk down Salem St. without being greeted by, “Bellisima!” and an almost fierce in it’s exuberance, bear hug. One time, after a fall, I winced and he pushed me away, hands on my shoulders, “Bellisima, has someone hit you? Tell me who.” “No, no, and I described it, another of my ‘spectacular falls’. “I believe you,” hr said. “But I worry.”

    made myself go out & do what Vittorio would have appreciated–something to make the neighborhood better At the OneCanal finally breaking ground ceremony, I had an informative chat with Mass DOT Secretary Richard Davies.)

    Vittorio often told me during the Central Artery main alignment & then the Surface Restoration Construction years, when I was able to be so involved, how much he appreciated the effort I made to enable the North End to survive the project. He would laugh at my telling him what I wasn’t able to prevent. “Bellisima, you tried. When they built it, [the original Central Artery “highway in the sky”] we didn’t even try..”

  15. I’m new to the Boston area, but Vittorio quickly made me feel welcome and cared for in his shop on Salem Street. He was more than a tailor, but a kind and joyous soul, who always took time to really be with people. His interests and passion for his work, both in tailoring and judo, and his family were always so evident. I’m so sad and sending wishes of peace to his family in what must be an impossibly difficult time.

    1. Ahhh…. BEAUTIFUL your blog says it all !!! Victorio – one in a million he was a genuine soul —–

  16. Small business in the North End was bonded by something special !!! Years ago, “That Really Meant Something” !!!
    I grew up in a family that had this deep-hearted bond ~~~My Grand Parents, Great Uncle, Cousins and my parents owned their own small businesses here in the North End !! As did Victor Recupero ! They all watched out for each-other !! This is what you would call a SOLID BOND IN BUSINESS MEN !!!

    A few years ago, I happened into Victor’s Tailor Shop~~I needed something, and of course, he searched every where and found it for me !! At that time, while he was searching, we talked ! I asked him if he remembered my Dad~~
    Eddie Pal ?? He replied~~~Are you kidding me~~we were close friends !! Then he preceded to tell me a few “choice stories” that I would have NEVER KNOWN !!! I left there ~~bright eyed, and bushy tailed !!! What a Character !!
    I’ll never forget him~~May he Rest-in-Peace !!!! Victor~~~~Please Tell Eddie Pal I Love Him !! Thank You

  17. My family is devastated to hear of the senseless and tragic death of Vittorio. He was a very special friend. It is surreal because he had so much life in him and in a moment it was taken away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his lovely wife and his two beautiful daughters. He will be solely missed by many.

  18. I’d like to send out condolences and prayers to Vittorio’s family. He was my tailor for over 20 years…and was a very special person who loved to remind people that he was a black belt! He will be sorely missed in the North End.

  19. My daughter Ava just called me and told me the tragic news about Vittorio. I just dropped off a shirt on Friday, a silly little button-hole job. He belted out “Frano, this is too small for me! I am a tailor!” I turned to him and said, Vittorio, you are not a tailor, you are an artist!” And he was. He took everything I gave him, my wedding suit 28 years ago, pants with enormous holes that he patched by hand (they looked embroidered!), my wife’s skirts, my daughter’s dresses, always with a smile and an epic story about his days as a young man in Italy, his father the Italian policeman, the early days of the North End, his Judo competitions, and the meals his wife prepared for himself and his grand daughter. Vittorio was bigger than life and his should never have ended this way. On Friday I remember Vittorio three times offering me a cup of coffee. He insisted but I said I had to run, as I do too often. As I walked, unknowingly for the last time, out of his shop, this reliquary he created, I called back repeating a line he has delivered many, many times, “Vittorio, you are a gentlemen and a scholar!” How I now wish I had stayed a while longer.

  20. The world was a brighter place with that kind soul around. Please keep this untimely death in mind the next time someone who’s been drinking goes to get behind the wheel. One woman’s carelessness has taken away a life that brought immeasurable joy to the community.

    Vittorio became one of my first friends in Boston. His warmth emanated from his little shop on Salem Street, and I soon found myself stopping in just to say hi. He was always making coffee for those passing through and telling the best stories. From teaching me a little Italian to sharing memories from his hometown in Avellino, I am thankful for knowing such a delightful man.

  21. My heart is heavy. A senseless cowardice act has taken away a truly beautiful human being. A man that would go out of his way to make sure you were o.k. or just simply to say hello. The definition of a gentleman. Growing up I lived in his building on Prince St. he treated me as one of his own daughters. There isn’t a day i can remember for the past 30 years that i didn’t see his delightful face. Vittorio made Salem St. a better place. I will miss my neighbor, my tailor and my friend. May you have eternal peace and may your family have strength to get through this most difficult time.

  22. Vittorio was an uncle to Mary Theresa and I, always encouraging and lending his profound wisdom and insights. A True Champion of humanity and humility as well as Italy’s Judo champion as a teen. He got me to his judo classes and told me I was “Very strong but never to be as strong as he”. Our hugs were like that of wolves as we would giggle and punch one another on the shoulder and back. Thanks You for sharing your life, Vittorio. May you smile upon us as does your padre Frank. Peace and Blessings to The Family he cherished and Loves. His Spirit is with us–it’s contagious.

  23. What a senseless tragegy to befall such a lovely man. I agree that Salem Street will be a colder place without him. My sincere condolences to his family.

  24. Uncle Victor,

    I will miss you dearly – Whenever I walk by the store I will hear you calling me. I will miss our talks at the store. Every time I pass by the store I’ll remember and feel you tugging at my heart. Love Always!

  25. Deeply saddened to hear of Vittorio’s passing. He was a true treasure. May we all be comforted by memories. My deepest sympathy and God’ s blessings to his family.

  26. Great Uncle Vittorio,

    You were such a wonderful person and will be missed by so many people.

    May you Rest In Peace.

    Gone but never forgotten.

    My Condolences to the rest of the family and I hope justice is served.

    Love Always

    From your family in Australia xoxo

  27. I haven’t seen Vittorio for perhaps 20 years, but remember him like it was yesterday that I last saw him). He was a strong man with a strong personality and zest for life. A good man. My sympathies.

  28. Thank you all for the kind words about my dad. our hearts are broken and our lives will never be the same. I miss him more than words can say. please respect him and think twice before drinking and driving, you dont know whos life that you are destroying. I will never get to see my dad again and that isnt fair. He didnt deserve to die that way……… nobody does.

  29. Bar on Milk St – assault &battery w/ a dangerous weapon & assault and battery – bail set @$15,000

    ‘Operating under the Influence (and death) bail set at $10,000.?

    And this alleged drunk driver who killed Victorio, out on bail? without any program rehab and allowed to be free until 1/17 – opening up another potential Drink & Drive ? Where is the sense in this?

    Akin to the Drunk Driving laws & penalties in Massachusetts – not working, no sense, too lenient, it will keep happening (again 1/26 7 yr old girl killed and mother’s injury) again and again UNTIL
    the laws are changed.

    This is ‘Petition Worthy’ to change the law.

    Penalties for Drunk Driving Vehicular Homicide—–Massachusetts
    30 days to 15 years
    Negligently or recklessly: Not less than 2½ years or more than 15 years (or not less than 1 year or more than 2½ years in jail or house of correction) and not more than $5,000. No negligence or recklessness: Not less than 30 days or more than 2½ years and/or not less than $300 or more than $3,000.

  30. Edyie, I could not agree with you more.I posted that the courts in MA are a joke a couple of weeks ago . The week before the Recupero tragedy a woman was dragged 3 miles to her death in a Norwood motel where she worked the bail was set at $3000 dollars for the driver.While the Recupero family mourns & Mr. Recupero is laid to rest the “alleged” drunk driver will be enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with her family.

  31. Vittorio helped me out one morning. He invited me into his shop upon seeing I was in need. Gave me several cups of coffee and some sound advice. I only recently heard about his passing and it broke me up.

    I’ll never forget him and what he did for me.

    Chris Dowd.

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