By Cary Shuman
He is the newest member of the Winthrop School School Committee who represented the school system very well in his previous tenure on the board.
He is a proud graduate himself of Winthrop High School where he starred on an historic Viking football team that won the 1981 Super Bowl with a perfect record, launching an incomparable three-year streak of 33 games without a defeat.
He and his wife, a star track athlete at the high school, have raised their family here, continuing the tradition of their parents before them. Their daughters were well-rounded scholar-athletes, with one currently owning a popular business in the middle of Winthrop Center.
There is a younger brother, who no doubt has looked up to him as a role model since childhood, that has built the Winthrop High girls hockey team in to one of the top programs in the state, a pioneer in the manner of Ron Spinney who foresaw the future explosion of girls basketball in the 1970s.
If there is a charitable endeavor or an organization that has needed assistance, he has been at the forefront with his extreme generosity and unwavering support, whether it be a financial contribution or personally volunteering his hard work.
The effort he put in to the Winthrop Pride Foundation that helped save WHS sports amidst challenging times for the town will never be forgotten by parents, athletes, and sports followers.
To his credit, he has done all of it with little fanfare and in most humble fashion. He was never about making headlines or making the front page. That is not his style. As he told the Transcript in this story, he “loves Winthrop and its people – I never wanted to leave, I always wanted to stay.”
For all of his accomplishments in the town, his successful career in the family business, his devotion to the town and commitment to public service, his lifelong generosity to causes large and small and most importantly, his believing in the greatness of this town and his standing ready to contribute more to Winthrop’s future, Gus Martuci is the Winthrop Sun-Transcript’s 2017 Man of the Year.
“I thank the Sun Transcript for this award,” said Martucci humbly upon being notified of the honor.
A Super Season
at Winthrop High
Martucci has nothing but fond memories about being the starting center for the 1981 WHS football team that went undefeated in the Northeastern Conference and claimed a state championship under head coach Bob DeFelice.
Martucci said many of the players on that team had competed together in the Winthrop Pop Warner organization that was co-founded by his father, Tony Martucci.
“We were the first Pop Warner team in the town and our first coaches were Barney DiGregorio, Anthony Ferrara, and Hank Hayes,” recalled Martucci. “We were 1-9 in our first season and 9-1 in our second season and then when we became freshmen, we were 9-0.”
Everything jelled in Martucci’s senior year as the smallest school in the Northeastern Conference beat every team on the schedule including neighbor Revere on Thanksgiving.
Martucci excelled in the role as the Vikings’ NEC All-Star center, helping to protect quarterback John Tiano, block for running back Chucky Sullivan, and provide time for Joe Giaquinto to run his pass patterns. It was an amazing end to some amazing athletic careers but only the start of a three-year Viking dynasty that featured another Super Bowl title in 1983 preceded by an undefeated-but-uninvited campaign in 1982.
A business and town leader
Following his graduation, Martucci went to work in the family business, A. Martucci and Sons, that was founded by his great-grandfather, Antonio Martucci, in 1905. He is the fourth-generation of Martuccis in an administrative role for the business that has expanded to included Mutual Beef and A and K Waste Systems. He has worked full time in his job for 36 years.
His dynamic involvement in the town began when the school department was looking to make cuts in athletic funding for the school teams. Martucci responded by becoming a charter member of the Viking Pride Foundation in 2003, collaborating with fellow residents and former sports stars such as Richard Fucillo, Al Petrilli, Nick Tsiotos, and Chris Tsiotos by stepping up and helping the athletes of Winthrop in a time of need.
“With Rich Fucillo leading the charge, a group of us tried approaching the School Committee and the superintendent and they were having no part of it,” said Martucci. “We were told that in order to prove a point to the townspeople, they would just cut athletics.”
Martucci didn’t agree with that decision and promptly decided to run for a seat on the School Committee in 2004. He was victorious in his campaign and served two terms on the School Committee.
Martucci said he supported the town’s decision to shift to a town manager/town council government 12 years ago. Winthrop previously had a board of selectmen, and an executive secretary and held an annual town meeting.
“I was in favor of the new structure to town government but I think there needs to be some changes because it’s been 12 years,” said Martucci. “The town has had two charter reviews and I wrote to both of them and they didn’t quite make the changes I sought but they did make some changes. There needs to be some more changes in the charter but we are definitely moving forward as a town.”
Martucci was also “100 percent” behind the new $80 million Winthrop High School/Middle School project and the renovation of Miller Field.
“The new schools are so important to the town,” he said. “The students really benefit the most from these beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities, but what the schools do for real estate values – the overall picture of the town improves. Schools are the backbone to communities.”
As for the new look of Miller Field, where he once played his high school football home games, Martucci related, “On Thanksgiving morning I walked the field and it’s an awesome sight to see.”
Martucci praised outgoing town manager Jim McKenna for his leadership.
“Jim McKenna was great – he did some good things for Winthrop,” said Martucci. “He definitely got Winthrop financially on the right track. And I think he did a great job.
“We’re on a good road right now. We have some new people coming in to the town council and they have a good vision for the future. [New Council President] Ron Vecchia is an excellent man and people like him. I think he’ll do a fantastic job and bring stability to the town.
“And we’re so fortunate to have Bob DeLeo on Beacon Hill as our Speaker of the House. He’s just a great guy who has always done good things for Winthrop. He continues to help out and do great things for our town. Senator Boncore is a young man who is a good guy who has new ideas and comes from a great Winthrop family. I think he brings a lot to the table and is a real asset to our legislative delegation.”
He has given so much
toward the benefit of others
Gus Martucci’s philanthrophy is legendary whether it be in support of local organizations or groups or the behind-the-scenes role he is playing in the advancement of National Football League player agent Sean Stellato’s quest to bring his book to the movie screen.
St. John’s Church, Parks and Recreation, the Police and Fire Departments, Viking Pride, the Fourth of July Fireworks Fund, Winthrop youth and high school teams have all been beneficiaries of Martucci’s givings.
He has developed a strong relationship with Stellato, whose book about the 1995 Salem High football season is now in the screenwriting phase of the movie project.
“I read Sean’s book and it was great and it’s getting close to being a movie,” said Martucci. “He’s a very focused, hard-working guy.”
Returning to the committee
The School Committee and Town Council selected Martucci to a two-year appointment for a seat on the School Committee.
“I decided to seek the position because I think I can really help out the committee in the budgeting because that’s a big part of the picture right now – they have some serious challenges coming up with funding,” said Martucci. “I think that’s my forte. That’s what I took on in my past service on the committee and all my experience is in that area.”
He will approach his duties on the School Committee with the professionalism and thoroughness you would expect.
“In order for me to do the job up to my standards, you have to put in the time and do the research and making sure that things are done right, because it’s my name on that piece of paper,” said Martucci.
A proud family man
The son of Tony and Minnie Martucci, Gus Martucci takes great pride in his family. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my wife [Susan Tarantino Martucci] – she’s great,” said Gus.
They have two daughters, Suzanne, 29, and Andrea, 25. Suzanne is the owner of the Winthrop Book Depot and Café on Somerset Avenue in Winthrop Center.
“Suzanne has done a wonderful job with the Book Depot and has increased her business,” said the proud dad. “She loves her business and she’s very happy. My wife also works there and is a huge help to her.”
Andrea is an ESP (Education Support Professional) at the high school and is currently pursuing her degree in Early Education at Lesley College in Cambridge. She plans on being a teacher in the Winthrop school system.
Having played hockey himself, Gus Martucci understands the monumental role his brother, Anthony “Butch” Martucci has played in advancing and elevating girls’ hockey in the town. After years of calling itself the Lady Bulldawgs, Winthrop now hosts the team and it is called the Vikings.
“Butch is the man – it’s unbelievable what he’s done for women’s hockey in this town,” said Gus. “What his motivation is that he loves hockey and he loves coaching – and giving back to Winthrop is his big thing.”
He made it a point to mention the support and encouragement he and all the Martucci children (he also has two sisters, Maria and Toniann) have received from their parents, Tony and Minnie Martucci, and grandparents, Sal and Lucy Ferrara, and Gus and Margaret Martucci.
“Our parents taught us how to give back – they instilled us the importance of giving back to the community – it all stems from them.”
And Winthrop has benefited greatly from the family’s philosophy of giving back to others and putting others first.
Daughter Suzanne Martucci said it best on behalf of all the relatives and friends of Gus Martucci, “We’re proud of him. We love him so much. He’s the best!”
Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, a past recipient of the Man of the Year Award, also summed up Martucci’s selection: “Gus is an excellent choice. He is so deserving of this award.”