Joseph Piantedosi Sr. had fond memories of his days growing up in the city of Everett. It was at a bakery on Main Street in this city where Mr. Piantedosi began working and building the Piantedosi Bakery Company Inc. into the international bread-manufacturing powerhouse it is has become.
Mr. Piantedosi was a devoted husband and father, a U.S. Army veteran, and an innovative and progressive thinker who was well known and widely respected throughout the baking industry.
Mr. Piantedosi, of Lexington, Massachusetts, and Ocean Ridge, Florida, formerly of Winchester, Massachusetts, died Sunday, Jan. 9 in Palm Beach Florida with his wife, Elaine, of 61 years, by his side. He was 87.
Born in 1923 in Everett, Mr. Piantedosi attended Everett schools and graduated from Everett High School. He spent the first 30 years of his life in Everett before he moved to Medford and later to Winchester.
“My father talked warmly about his years in Everett and he loved the city – that’s where their family business was,” said his son, Joseph Piantedosi Jr.
Mr. Piantedosi’s hobby was work and he started working at the family business when he was eight years old, often stopping by the bakery before school and returning after the school day. He also worked there on weekends and during school vacations.
“My father and his two brothers lived above the original bakery which is now where the circle is at the end of Main Street,” Mr. Piantedosi Jr. said.
In 1974, Mr. Piantedosi and family moved the bakery to its current location in Malden. Mr. Piantedosi’s knowledge of the industry, strong work ethic, and keen business foresight set the foundation to the bakery company’s incredible growth through the years, allowing it to compete with national bakeries on all levels. He was responsible for automating the equipment and manufacturing processes at the bakery.
“My father was the one who automated it,” said Mr. Piantedosi Jr. “He had a belief and a vision in the 1950s and 1960s, when bakeries of our type were not automated, to automate. He started traveling the world picking out different pieces of equipment and joining it together via a conveyor belt system and modernizing the process. I call him the original techie. He was labeled ‘equipment happy,’ because he believed everything could be done using machinery.”
Mr. Piantedosi served as president of the company prior to his retirement in the late 1980s. Mr. Piantedosi Jr. and his two cousins, Tom and Bob, then assumed the leadership positions in the company and together they have steered the once local Everett bakery into an international company that ships frozen bread to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean islands.
The company’s impressive list of clients includes the Hilltop Restaurant in Saugus and international chains such as Uno Chicago Bar and Grille, Hard Rock Café, Papa Gino’s, and DeAngelo Sandwiches.
More than 750 people paid tribute to Mr. Piantedosi at the wake. “Past employees and current and former customers had stories upon stories about what a legend my father was, how bright he was and what an innovator he was in the industry,” Mr. Piantedosi Jr. said.
Mr. Piantedosi was the son of the late Salvatore and Mary Piantedosi. Salvatore Piantedosi came from Avellino, Italy, and settled in Everett where he would use his horse and wagon to transport the bread from the North End and deliver it house to house in this city. The couple learned how to make bread and their three young boys, Joseph, Carmine, and John learned the craft as well. It was Mr. Piantedosi who had the vision of developing the submarine roll that we know so well today.
In addition to his son, Mr. Piantedosi leaves two daughter, Mary and JoAnn; three grandchildren, Liana, Marc, and Jared; and a great granddaughter, Shanna.
Looking back at his father’s wonderful life, an inspiring one that was marked by innovation, hard work, devotion to family, and a generosity to many causes, Mr. Piantedosi Jr. said, “It all started in Everett; that’s where our roots all started.”