John A. Volpe

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John Anthony Volpe is best known as a three time Republican governor of Massachusetts. He was born in a home on Water Street on December 8, 1908 and attended the Lincoln School. At at age 8 his family moved to Malden and he finished his education there, graduating from Malden High School in 1926. He graduated from the Wentworth Institute in 1930.

In 1933 he and friend Fred Grande started the Grande and Volpe Contruction Company. In 1934 he married Jennie Benedetto, his childhood sweetheart, at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Wakefield. His enterprise with Grande disbanded, but Volpe continued to build his own successful construction firm, stopping during World War II when he served in the Navy Sea Bees.

He was appointed as commissioner of the state Department of Public Works in 1953, and in 1956 President Eisenhower appointed him as the first administrator of the Bureau of Public Roads.

He was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1960, 1964, and 1966. In 1968 he left the governor's position to become the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. In 1972 he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Italy.

The library at Wakefield Memorial High School was named in his honor in 1993, and the school maintains an archive of his papers and effects. He died on November 11, 1994.

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