Dominic A.'s Story

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Dominic Nicastro Sr., who as Gloucester’s Guardian of St. Peter, led the statue of St. Peter through the streets of his beloved hometown during the city’s Italian festival for the patron saint of fishermen, died peacefully, after a lengthy illness, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2016. It is the day of his grandson Dominic’s 21st birthday. He was 66.
Known affectionately as “Donny,” he was a proud father of three, grandfather of five, beloved son and brother, and father of three daughters-in-law, fulfilling his lifelong wish of having a daughter.
Donny was also the husband of his pride and joy, his only girlfriend, his soulmate, and his angel on earth through sickness, and in health, Cathy. Together, they shared 46 years of marriage, many laughs, many tears of joy and of course, many dishes of Cathy’s famous bista with the zugu. He called Catherine his guardian angel.
Donny played many roles in life, perhaps none he held more sacred than his job as one of the carriers of the St. Peter's statue, and then, from 2000 through 2015, as it's Guardian. He was the statue's fifth Guardian in the festival's 89-year history, handing over the duties to Joe Orlando in 2015. He was also president of the St. Peter’s Club at one time.
Donny was born into a large Sicilian family in Gloucester on April 2, to the late Joseph “Tarzan” Nicastro of Gloucester and the late Pauline (Bologna) Nicastro, of San Francisco, in 1950. He grew up with five siblings and dozens of cousins on Pleasant and Elm streets in Gloucester.
The Nicastro men were hard-working, loyal fishermen, and the women were loving, care-taking mothers and wives.
After graduating from Gloucester High School in 1968, where he earned the title as Captain in the Junior ROTC, Donny joined the long lineage of Gloucester’s Sicilian fishermen and worked on The Gloucester Queen fishing vessel, and family boats, the Serafina N. and Rockaway, among other various roles. Donny was an engineer and captain of the seine boat that helped haul in pogey fish among other various roles.
Donny would later captain his own boats, his lobster fishing boats that he named after his parents, the Pauline N. and the Tarzan N. With his gray and white buoys, the colors of his father’s boat, the Rockaway, he lobstered for more than a decade, in and outside of Gloucester harbor, often bringing home lobsters and crabs for Cathy to cook.
Donny left fishing for good for a job as a mechanic and bus driver for the Cape Ann Transportation Company, a job he held until recent years, where he was respected and loved by his co-workers.
Beyond his career, Donny loved nothing more than “holding court” and having laughs at the dinner table, among family and friends, during Sunday night visits to his mother’s house, Monday-night visits at his own house, or on holidays. He yearned for laughter, as if life didn’t make sense without it.
He especially loved spending time with his grandchildren, four boys, Zack, Dominic, Matthew and Jack, and his special little girl, Charlotte, to whom he often sang, “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody.”
Donny also loved coaching his beloved Little League team, the Braves, a role he continued even after he coached sons Sam and Dom Jr. He was exactly the type of coach Little League envisions for its children, teaching the skills while also emphasizing fun, good sportsmanship, trying your best and respecting opponents.
Though winning wasn’t emphasized, Coach Donny did coach two World Series champions, in 1986 and 1989.
Coach Donny cared mostly for the “little guy,” the lesser talented players, and those who perhaps had tough family lives. He picked up kids for practices when their parents couldn’t. To this day, those players still point out the impact Coach Donny had on their lives.
Donny was also a power-hitting softball player for teams like the Hideaway and Kelleher’s in Gloucester softball leagues, deceiving opponents with a surprising speed around the base paths. He was also a member of the St. Peter’s Fiesta championship rowing squad, the “Young Scrods,” in 1970, the year he was married.
Donny was built like a Black Bear, but with the disposition and demeanor of a Teddy Bear. His forearms were as thick as the steel used to make fishing boat engines on which he worked. But he was a gentle giant, a voice of reason, and a man you could go to with problems or when mediation was needed.
Donny is predeceased by parents, Joe “Tarzan” Nicastro and Pauline (Bologna) Nicastro; father-in-law, Sam “Boogie” Frontiero, and infant brother, Dominic.
Donny is survived by his wife, Cathy and children, Joe and wife, Kristen, Sam and wife, Jodi and Dom Jr. and wife, Pamela; grandchildren, Zack, Dominic, Matthew, Jack and Charlotte; brothers, Jerry and wife, Rosalie, Joe and wife, Renee, Paul and wife, Gerry; sisters, Sally and partner, Theresa and Cathy and partner, Kate; his mother-in-law, Carmella D’Amico Frontiero; brothers-in-law, Joe Frontiero and companion, Francisca, Frank Frontiero and companion, Karen, Sam Frontiero, Peter Frontiero and wife, Alisa; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and many friends.
His funeral mass will be celebrated in St. Ann’s Church, Holy Family Parish, 70 Pleasant St., Gloucester, on Tuesday, July 26, at 9:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held in the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St., Gloucester, on Monday, July 25, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the family c/o Cathy Nicastro, 98 Centennial Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930.
For online condolences, please visit www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  July 23, 2016
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