John R. “The Master” Padula 87, of Franklin, died peacefully, Tuesday May 21, 2019 at Norwood Hospital, following a long illness. He was the beloved husband of the late Sheila M. (Spadoni) Padula, who died in 1987.
Born February 21, 1932 in Franklin, the 9th child of 13 born to Pauline (Rufrano) and Angelo Padula, he was a Franklin icon and lifelong resident. He enjoyed his summers in Wareham and was also a longtime winter resident of Palm Springs, California.
John was raised and educated in Franklin and was the first member of his family to graduate from Franklin High School. An outstanding football player, he played on the varsity team for all four years. In his senior year he was scouted by Brown University where he was given a full scholarship to play football. Due to financial constraints he was unable to pay for books and instead worked two jobs to support his mother and younger siblings. In 1954 after serving in the US Navy, he played semi-pro football for the Burrillville Mules.
In 1951 he joined the United States Navy and served during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1954.
Upon returning home he started working as a bricklayer and was a member of the Bricklayers Local Union #4 for 55 years. In 1958 he started John R. Padula Construction, Inc. and built it into a successful career, retiring at the age of 67.
John was devoted to his family and the Town of Franklin He served on the Franklin Planning Board for 5 years, acting as chairman for 2 years. He remodelled the band stand on the town common in 1994. He was a member of the Franklin Rotary Club since 1961 and served as president in 1972. He was head chef of the Pasta and Meatball Supper for the elderly at Central Park Terrace from 1992 thru 2018. He was the originator and chairman of the Rotary Home & Trade Show. John received the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award in 1977. He was awarded the Citizen of the year award in 1978. He received an Honored Member award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in 2006 and a Lifetime of Dedication to the Town of Franklin Award in 2018.
Always wanting to give back to Franklin High School and the Football program, John was a 1971 member of the Franklin High School Building Committee. He sang the National Anthem and announced the home football games for the Franklin Panthers from 1965 thru 2010. In 1989 he served as Vice-Chair for the lighting Committee at Pisini Field and in 2000 built and donated a press box there. The press box was dedicated and named the John R. Padula Press Box in 2001. John was a Charter member and past President of the Franklin Gridiron Club. In 1979 he was named the Jaycee’s Sportsman of the year.
Coaching and teaching was also a big part of John’s life. He coached football and basketball and served as member and past president of Franklin Youth Basketball. From 1992-1997 he was an advisor and commissioner of the masonry class at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School.
A devout Catholic, John was a member of St. Mary’s Church. In 1978 he was a co-originator of the St. Rocco’s festival. He donated the St. Rocco statute for the annual event. In 1987 he built and donated a new addition to the rectory which he dedicated to his late wife Sheila. He also built and donated the original elevator for the church.
Proud of his Italian heritage, he was a member of the St. Anthony Columbus and Benevolent Society, the Franklin Sons of Italy, and the Franklin Knights of Columbus.
Golf was John’s other passion; he played as much as he could at some of the best golf cources in the United States. He was a member and on Board of Directors for the Franklin Country Club.
He is survived by his cherished daughter’s, Diane M. Padula, Darlene M. Denommee and Denise P. DePedro all of Franklin and his brothers, Charles Padula and his wife Mary Ellen of North Port, Fl, and James “Banjo” Padula of Franklin.
He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, Brendan Denommee, Nicholas DePedro, & Erica DePedro. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and friends.
He was the brother of the late Domenic, Anthony, Joseph, Francis, Ronald, Raymond, Alfred & Anne Padula, Teresa Poles and Margaret Dias.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral Friday May 31st, at 9AM from the Charles F. Oteri and Son Franklin Funeral Home 33 Cottage St. followed by a funeral Mass in St. Mary’s Church, 1 Church Square at 10AM.
Interment at the parish cemetery will be held privately.
Calling hours are Thursday May 30th, from 3-8PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to the Friends of Franklin 50 Corbin St. Franklin, MA 02038.