The new bench is situated just beyond the end zone at Miller Field. It’s the perfect spot to pay tribute to a gentleman who meant so much to so many during his career as an educator and coach in the Winthrop school system.
The Frank and Rita Fioretti Bench will be formally dedicated at a ceremony Sunday at the field where Mr. Fioretti served as an assistant coach of the Winthrop High School football team. Mr. Fioretti was also a teacher and served as class adviser for the WHS Class of 1965.
Mr. Fioretti passed away on April 13, 1965 at the age of 35. He would have been 90 on Sept. 6, the date of the season opener for the Winthrop High football team when one of the Fioretti’s grandchildren, Robert Noonan Jr. will be suited up as a freshman quarterback.
At the request of Mrs. Fioretti and in honor of their 90th birthdays, the family decided to honor them with a new bench.
“To be here at the football field and to be in the good company of Michael Mason’s bench, it was perfect,” said Sharon Tallent, who was in the seventh grade when her father died unexpectedly.
The great tradition of athletic and academic excellence has been carried forth proudly by the Tallent and Noonan families.
“He would be very proud of this group, without a doubt,” said Sharon Tallent.
Sharon said that when her son, David Tallent Jr., was born and became one of the first boys (Mr. and Mrs. Fioretti have two other daughters, Debra and Andrea) in the family, the mantle of athletic excellence began anew.
“With my husband (David Sr.) encouraging and helping David along the way, we had a blast watching him play sports all those years,” said Sharon. “My father looking down would have been thrilled by all of the athletic success.”
David Tallent Sr., a superb athlete himself and manager of an unforgettable, undefeated Little League Dodgers team led by his son, David, and friends, Michael Mason and Billy Morelli, said he did not have the honor of meeting Mr. Fioretti as he and Sharon did not start dating until high school.
“Many of the guys I golf with tell me that he was their class advisor and they loved him,” said David Sr. “I hear nothing but great stories about him.”
Following a family photo at the site of the bench Tuesday night, Rita Fioretti smiled and then reflected on the happy years she shared with her husband.
“He was a great coach,” reflected Mrs. Fioretti. “He coached for the championship team in 1964 and they went to Florida to play in the Orange Bowl. And I cried my heart out because he wasn’t home for New Year’s Eve when we were always together. But he called me from Florida.”
Mrs. Fioretti said she is so proud of the family who represent so well the esteemed legacy established by her husband.
“He’s looking down on us and he’s so happy and I’m happy because he’s happy,” said Mrs. Fioretti. “I love my whole family, my six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. And the boys are playing football. He’s in heaven now but he would be in heaven if he were here.”