There were few places and few events in the adventures that come along with being a state senator that Salvatore DiDomenico didn’t attend with his son, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, and his family.
Whether it was holding signs, attending fundraisers, helping to coordinate charity efforts, the elder Sal was always the cornerstone part of the DiDomenico team in Everett.
That included the very first time that Sen. DiDomenico decided to make it public that he was going to run for office – making the announcement at the old Shooter’s bar and grill.
“The very first night I was thinking about running for office, it was at the old Shooter’s,” said DiDomenico this week. “I sent out a text at 4 p.m. to my supporters to meet at 6 p.m. in Shooter’s. People showed up in droves. My father and mother were there. My father, in particular, was worried I might have bitten off more than I could chew. He wanted the best for me. Then he saw that turnout and he knew I would be ok. That’s when it all started for me and my career as a state senator.”
Salvatore DiDomenico passed on March 18 in Cambridge at the age of 81.
In fact, DiDomenico said his father was quite proud of him being a state senator, and put up newspaper article in his East Cambridge flower shop about his son’s accomplishments. To that, Sen. DiDomenico said he placed a DiDomenico for Senate campaign pen in the casket with his father, saying he would have loved the gesture.
“He was so proud of me becoming a senator,” he said. “He hung newspaper articles up in his store. Everything we did, he was always there, always a part of it.”
DiDomenico said when the services were held, they weren’t able to have the large service they had hoped for because of restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 responses. Despite that, DiDomenico said he delivered a fitting eulogy, and he said he was touched when he saw his friends and municipal colleagues lined up six feet apart all the way to the cemetery.
“Our group of friends knew him and they have been really supportive of us at this time,” he said. “They all knew my dad and traveled with him to D.C. He knew them and they knew him and it was a nice thing for him to be able to experience all of our friendships and that part of our life. He got to be a part of that too.”
DiDomenico said he wanted to thank all of his friends and supporters for going above and beyond in a time of national crisis to support him.
“The big thing for me is to say thank you to everyone that reached out to us – even people we never realized knew my dad and that there was a connection,” he said.
DiDomenico said he also has recalled some of the small, great things his dad often did such as always giving neighborhood kids in Cambridge a rose if they came in the store.
“He would give them one rose and tell them to go home and give it to their mom,” said DiDomenico. “He did that all the time.”
Sal was born on September 20 during the hurricane of 1938 in East Cambridge, two streets away from where he raised his own family. Sal graduated from Rindge Tech in Cambridge, went on to Boston College and then served in the Army National Guard. He found his calling at the Rittners School of Floral Design. He met the love of his life, Marie, at Moseley’s on the Charles and they never stopped dancing. They married in 1970 and spent over 50 glorious years together. In October of 1969, he proudly opened the doors to Flowers by Sal, which became a pillar in the East Cambridge community. This past November, he commemorated the store’s 50th anniversary with a ceremony celebrating this milestone. His store was an extension of his home, just downstairs from where he lived. Because of his love of traveling, he also opened and operated Jet-A-Way Travel for many years. Sal devoted his life to the S.S. Cosmas and Damian Society, his patron Saints, in Cambridge, where he was a beloved member, Treasurer and Feast Chairman. He always spoke of his Gaeta, Italy heritage and family history. He kept the society’s feast, banquets and annual traditions alive for more than five decades. Due to his strong faith and devotion to the Saints, he brought the annual feast to new heights and made it one of the largest events in the community. Some of his proudest moments were watching his wife, children and grandchildren carry on this important part of his life.
He loved his family and always put them before himself, as he did with everyone he met. His nine grandchildren were his world and they shared a very special bond. He knew that the most valuable thing in life was family and treasured every moment with them. He loved family gatherings, holiday celebrations, annual trips to Disney, cruises, Italian beach days or just being at home surrounded by his family. He beamed as he watched his children become adults and his family continued to grow, passing on his traditions to the next generation. He never met a stranger, because within minutes you were his friend. He had the natural ability to make all feel welcomed and all feel special. Services were private.
He was the beloved husband of Marie (Apruzzese). Treasured son of the late Nicola and Mary (Camelio) DiDomenico. Devoted father of Senator Salvatore DiDomenico and his wife Tricia, Lisa Lavoie, Brenda Giunta and her husband Joseph, Allison DiDomenico and her fiancé Jonathan Killeen. Cherished grandfather of Emma, Lindsey, Matthew, Salvatore, Marissa, Hailey, Olivia, Ava and Amelia. Loving brother of Marie Vaudo, her late husband Sal, of Burlington and Linda Cafarella, her husband Ron, of Belmont. Dear brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend to so many.