Meet the Marshal: Bob Catalano


Above, Bob Catalano being driven along the parade route Monday.

Bob Catalano was honored with the title of Grand Marshal of Monday’s Memorial Day Parade and was also a scheduled speaker. For those who grew up here, Bob has been a fixture, living on King Street at the “Four Corners” intersection (where Walgreens is located).

When the US joined in World War II, Catalano was already a trained welder, and Uncle Sam, specifically the US Navy told him he needed to acquire an additional skill -- hard hat diver – so that he could work underwater repairing ships and doing anything else that needed doing (this is before SCUBA equipment came into general use in the 1950s).

With that training, Catalano found himself in demand on the West Coast, at the great Mare Island Shipyard near San Francisco, at Pearl Harbor, and later in the Admiralty Islands (near New Guinea) and finally, in the Philippines. He even got pulled into projects on land or sea run by the Naval Construction Battalions (famously nicknamed the Seabees, from the initials CB).

When the war ended Catalano briefly considered staying on the West Coast but, instead, decided to take advantage of the GI Bill, returning to the Boston area and earning a degree in economics from Boston College in 1950.

He then heard about a new General Motors assembly plant being opened in Framingham. where he secured a position, staying with the company for some 38 years.

In Franklin Catalano also served on the Town Council.

In 2012, a fire started in the attic of his house, nearly destroying the place. But he rebuilt in 2013 on the same spot.

Catalano turns 100 in October. For more on Bob, checkout the video on Youtube.

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