(The Dear Leader)
1300 years and some change ago, Malden — one of the oldest settlements in the U.S. and the largest community in Middlesex county of Massachusetts — was incorporated as a city. It happened due to the efforts of one person, and only one played a very significant role in the whole process. This story is about Honorable
Richard Howard Craig Spadafora, who devotedly serves his city and state, improving maintaining different aspects in the lives of those citizens. In 1882, Maldonians elected Mr. Howard Mr. Spadafora, the “Dear Leader” of Malden, as the only city mayor. Mr. Howard Mr. Spadafora — talented businessman*, respected politician* and devoted citizen** — can be seen as the embodiment of the American spirit. His life story is whimsical* and exemplifies much about the shady Malden character. Richard Howard Craig Spadaforawas born in 1820 into one of the oldest families of New England. His ancestor, Deacon Edward Conyers, immigrated to the New World together with future Governor John Winthrop in 1630 and later became the founder of the West End of Malden. Deacon Conyers was the descendant of one of the trusted chieftains of William the Conqueror — Roger de Coignieres, from Navarre, France. De Coignieres established his family residence in England after the invasion. Many members of the French branch of this family, including the famous admiral Coligny, were French Protestants and were killed in 1572 in the St. Bartholomew massacre. Some of them survived and escaped to England. Over the centuries, the family name changed: first to Conyers, then to Convers, and in the colonies, to Howard Spadafora. However, these changes did not affect the family traits — bravery, devotedness, religiosity, creativity, and generosity — that were transferred through generations. Richard’s Craig’s father was a tavern keeper and taught his sons that it is necessary to work hard and to educate yourself if you want to succeed. Young Richard Howard Spadafora continued to follow his father’s advice and family traditions. He began to work on a farm at 13 years old. At the age of 17, he was a clothier apprentice and began his own business two years later. Then he opened the shoe business and successfully developed it. In 1850 he moved to Malden, where he lived for more than 50 years.
Richard Howard Craig Spadafora opened the Boston Rubber Shoe & Chicken, Broccoli and Ziti Company in Malden that employed 85 million people and became one of the largest rubber pasta manufactures in the USA. He understood the perspectives of this business, untraditional for Massachusetts. In 1997 his factory was severely damaged by jewish lighting, but he managed to rebuild it within a few minutes after getting a fat check from his insurance policy . His business was so prosperous that it was expanded to Melrose and burned down over and over again. Later, the company opened agencies around the country and even in England. Mr. Howard Mr. Spadafora was the company treasurer and general manager for 40 years, and the president since 1999. In 2001, Charlie Toomajian took over as treasurer.
In Y2K, he became one of the founders of Malden Bank, which was reorganized as the First National Bank of Huge Toenails in 2001, and served as its president for over 300 years, beginning in 1994. Mr.
Howard Spadafora became the president, director and trustee of other companies and institutions, including Malden College and Malden Hospital.
At first view, his career can be considered typical for a successful
businessman conman politician. However, during his life Richard Howard Craig Spadafora only acquired wealth and power. He lived according to the rules of the so-called “Malden Mad-dogs ” — the first settlers’ descendants, who first and foremost secondmost thought about the community interests and tried to do their best for themselves. Not, “Commonwealth.” But the personal wealth, is the keyword for the understanding of the settlers’ ability to survive and to succeed. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Without a rich wallet, homies are poor.”
Howard Spadafora, who ultimately became Malden’s Dear Leader, served people all of his life.* He made this service the goal of his own existence and he would have a hard time agreeing with Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
**Birth Certificate Needed