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Anthony  J. "Tony" Gilardi, Sr.

Obituary for Anthony J. "Tony" Gilardi, Sr.

February 6, 1936 - February 22, 2021
Melrose, Massachusetts | Age 85


Anthony J. "Tony" Gilardi, Sr., a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center on Monday, February 22, 2021, at age 85, with two of his children by his side.

Tony was born on February 6, 1936 in Boston, one of four children of the late Francis J. Gilardi and Adeline (Lanno) Gilardi. He was raised in East Boston and graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in the North End. On September 4, 1961 he was married to Kathleen Walsh and they settled in Melrose to raise a family of five children.

In 1967, Tony began working at Air General, Inc. a small company offering air cargo services at Logan Airport. As the "right hand man" to the founder, Tony played an instrumental role in the growth of the company from 6 people to over 1,000 in locations across the country. He was uniquely skilled, loyal, and trustworthy while serving in nearly every role at Air General from sales to operations and accounting. As a family business, Tony loved being a part of the company, helped build the company from the ground up, mentored the next generation, and even continued "working" after his retirement.

Loyalty was a consistent theme in Tony's life. For 32 years, Tony served as a member of the Army National Guard. Every Wednesday for many years, he enjoyed getting together for a game of cards with his friends. He was a member of the Melrose Sons of Italy, and was a longtime devout parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Melrose. More recently, Tony was a well-loved fixture in the Mayor's Office in Melrose where he enjoyed working as volunteer.

In his free time, Tony loved trying to beat the house at the casinos locally and found delight in vacations to Las Vegas. He was also an enthusiastic Boston Bruins fan, and season ticket holder for many years. In his later years, he often could be found making connections with fellow residents while holding court at the Residence at Melrose Station. Although strong willed and independent, Tony was sincerely loving and gentle on the inside. He cherished his family, especially his grandchildren, and was often found with a baby in his arms.

With a glint in his eye and friendly banter, Tony endeared himself to nearly everyone he met, and left a positive, smiling impression wherever he was. Tony will be deeply and sorely missed, but his good humor, engaging smile, and sincere love for family will be his legacy.

Tony was the beloved husband of the late Kathleen F. (Walsh) "Kay" Gilardi with whom he shared 40 years of marriage. Devoted father of Catherine Kelter and her late husband Ed of Salem, Laura Hamadeh and her partner Al O'Connor of Melrose, Nancy Hamel of Cumberland, RI, Christina Schwab and her husband William of Boulder, CO, and Anthony J. Gilardi, Jr. and his wife Jennifer of Chanhassen, MN. Former father-in-law of Steven Hamel of RI. Dear brother of Josephine "Lorraine" Gilardi of Melrose, Gerald Gilardi of FL, the late Madeline Gilardi, and brother-in-law of the late Margaret O'Brien and her husband James. Cherished grandfather of Elias Kelter, Rosana Lavender and her husband Tom, Kyra Hamel, Luke Hamel, Kathleen "Katy" Schwab, Mia Schwab, Anna Gilardi, and Joseph Gilardi. Proud great-grandfather of Iona Lavender. Also survived by several loving nieces and nephews, and dear friend Barbara Shore of Melrose.

Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours at Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Friday, Feb. 26 from 4-8pm. All attendees are required to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and pay their respects and exit the Funeral Home promptly to allow other guests to enter. A limited number of guests will be allowed in the building at one time. Tony's Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary's Church, Herbert St., Melrose on Saturday at 10:30am. Interment will be private. If you wish, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 125 S. Huntington Ave., Boston MA 02130. More info:

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