Howard Eric Mastropiero
May 5, 1960 - July 16, 2008
This Page and its entirety will be solely dedicated to the Fallen Firefighter/EMT Howard Mastropiero on behalf of his fellow brother and sister firefighters of Pelham
"Devoted Husband, father, friend, Firefighter, EMT, and co-worker"
Pelham Firefighter Howard Mastropiero, 48, died while on vacation with his daughter. He was visiting his brother in Texas and enjoying a day of tubing when he died suddenly of an apparent heart.
The reaction at Pelham Fire Department was stunned disbelief and extraordinary sadness at a life lost at such a young age.
“He was my morning exercise partner,” said Fire Chief Michael Walker. “We worked out together every morning. I just can’t believe that this happened to such a great guy.”
Mastropiero, who lived in town with his wife and three daughters, had been an on-call member of the Pelham Fire Department since 1997. According to Walker, he was a very valuable member of the force. “Howard knew all about hazardous materials and freely shared his knowledge and expertise.”
“Howard was a husband, a father, a volunteer, an on-call firefighter, a neighbor, a friend, and a person who would go completely out the way for anybody who asked. He will be deeply, deeply missed by many,” said Selectman Victor Danevich.
“You had to know Howard to know what an upbeat personality he had,” said Walker, who noted that Howard had kept their morning workouts cheerful.
Friday night before the services, Walker and eight Pelham firefighters went to Logan Airport to meet the flight with Mastropiero’s body.
“I was on the phone with Massport, the Massachusetts State Police, Homeland Security and a number of other agencies getting everything set up,” said Walker, who said that Massachusetts State Police met them and escorted them onto Logan.
“By the time his flight was third in line for landing, we were lined up along the runway with all of Massport fire engines, and state police, but Howard’s flight didn’t land,” recalled Walker. “Then we were told there was a mechanical difficulty and they would land at Providence, Rhode Island.”
Finally, there was a ten minute notice that the plane was back in the flight pattern and would land at Logan. Everyone lined up along the runway to escort Mastropiero home.
“This will live with me forever,” said Walker. “When the plane reached the jetport, everything stopped. No passengers got off. The cargo bay was opened, everyone stood and respectfully watched as his casket was unloaded and the pallbearers put him into the hearse. We could see passenger faces at the window watching us.”
“We drove him home and before we got to Pelham, I called the fire station. All the lights were on, the station was decorated in honor of Howard and the men lined up outside and saluted as we drove by,” said Walker.
The wake was Sunday July 20th. All 40 honor positions were filled by the men and women of the Pelham Fire Department. “We had honor guards for Howard. Each position was 15 minutes. Our staff filled every position. There was a huge out-pouring of love for Howard,” said Walker.
There was a memorial service held Monday, July 21.
“In lieu of memorial flowers, the family has requested memorials be made in Howard’s memory to the American Heart Association, or the Pelham Fire Department Association which was his passion,” said Danevich. “Please keep your thoughts and prayers with the Mastropiero family.”
Tribute to firefighter Mastropiero