Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Mr. Remo Del Gallo passed away on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at the age of 94.
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Born in Pittsfield on October 20, 1925, Remo was the son of Rinaldo Del Gallo and Concetta Marulli Del Gallo who emigrated to America in 1906 and became U.S. citizens. He graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1943 and attended Berkshire Business College. After graduating from high school, Remo enlisted and served with the United States Air Force in World War II from 1943 to 1946 as an Armament Gunner. After his discharge from military service at war's end, Remo returned to Pittsfield and worked at the family restaurant with his mother on Newell Street in Pittsfield. This became the place where he would meet and socialize with friends, family and people from all over Massachusetts and beyond during his political and civic career of over sixty years. In 1950 he married his wife of 66 years, Bertha Bonneau, and together they helped manage and operate Del Gallo's Restaurant preparing homemade pasta fagioli, thousands of meatballs and the specialty of the house, tripe, prepared in the same fashion as his parents and grandparents did back in their home town, of Abruzzia, San Valentino, Piscara in eastern Italy.
In 1960 Remo ran for Ward Three councilor and won in a close contest by 11 votes. He ran for two more terms unopposed and was re-elected in 1962-1963 and 1964-1965. During his terms as Councilor he served on various committees including Finance, Public Works, Capital Outlay, School Building Addition and the Water Commission. In 1964 he was elected President of the City Council and became Acting Mayor in September 1965. Remo ran for Mayor in the fall elections of 1965 and won by a majority of 3504 votes. His term as Mayor was progressive for the times. A construction of a second high school got underway, the Old Post Office was converted to Pittsfield’s new City Hall and transferred over to the city, and the airport was expanded among other accomplishments.
Running for a second term, Remo lost his bid for re-election and in 1968 returned to private life to manage the family restaurant. However, Remo soon immersed himself back in the Democratic Party arena when he was elected Chairman of the Pittsfield City Committee and reenergized that body. This was the start of a 40 year span as the Chairman of the City Committee that encouraged voter participation and sponsored many political events that drew statewide candidates to Pittsfield and Berkshire County.
Remo continued to serve the community in many ways. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1976. He served on the site selection committee in 1980 traveling to Detroit and Philadelphia before New York City was once again chosen as the site of the 1980 convention. Remo would later describe this event as “a great experience that he was honored to be a part of.”
Remo spent his life giving back to Pittsfield, the city that he loved. He was one of the first voices to call for an investigation into GE’s release of PCB’s into the environment in the Lakewood section of Pittsfield. He served as a lector and member of the Parish Council of All Souls’ Church for many years, was a member of UNICO, the Knights of Columbus and was a 60 year member of the American Legion. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Berkshire Community College and served as Chairman of the Pittsfield Community Development Board.
Remo was happiest when he was at his restaurant. There he enjoyed talking to old friends and family members and was always willing to meet and offer advice to novice politicians who had a desire to run for elected office. When Remo talked to you, he made you feel special.
He was also the unofficial city historian, especially as it involved the Lakewood section of Pittsfield. Remo knew the background of every major development in the city going back to the 1950’s and the people behind the scenes. If you were from Lakewood, he knew your family tree and where your relatives came from in Italy. One of the proudest moments for Remo was when he would see three generations of families come into his restaurant for lunch on a Saturday afternoon.
In his lifetime, he helped countless people, primarily those who needed help and were unable to help themselves. He made people feel good because he was a good listener and truly cared about them. When he was honored by the Pittsfield Democratic Committee in a surprise recognition event, U.S. Representative Richard Neal called Remo “a legendary figure in the city of Pittsfield and a shining example of what public service should be about.”
Remo was predeceased by his wife, the former Bertha Bonneau who passed away in 2016. Remo also leaves his two daughters, Linda Crawford and her husband Jerry of Des Moines, Iowa and Karen Ingegni and her husband Albert of Pittsfield; grandchildren, Alyssa Lee and her husband Chester of West Sand Lake, NY; Katelyn Crawford and her husband, John Kupstas of Birmingham, AL; Erin Nicorata and her husband Daniel of Palos Park, IL; and Conor Crawford and his wife Elizabeth of Arvada, CO; four great grandchildren, Dominic, Claire and Daniel Nicorata, and Marion Crawford Kupstas. Remo is also survived by his brother-in-law, Victor Bonneau and his wife Suzann of Acton, MA, along with several nieces and nephews. Remo is also predeceased by his sister, Bambina Tagliaferro and his three brothers, Rinaldo Jr., Rezziero and Joseph Del Gallo.
Funeral services for Remo Del Gallo will be held Tuesday, September 8, 2020 with a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10:00 A.M. at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 89 Briggs Avenue, Pittsfield, celebrated by Rev. A. Peter Gregory, Pastor Emeritus and concelebrated by the Rev. John Tuohey, Administrator. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Soldier On in care of Flynn and Dagnoli Funeral Home, 5 Elm Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 in his memory. Please visit www.flynndagnolifuneral homes.com to leave condolences and remembrances.