John Q. Calista, Jr.
PAWTUCKET - John Q. Calista, Jr, of Pawtucket, RI, died at the age of 91 on Saturday, September 15, 2012. He was the beloved husband of Mary (Nunes) Calista for 67 years.
Born in Central Falls on August 14, 1921, he resided in Pawtucket since 1955. He was the son of the late John Q. Calista and Carolina (Nobrega) Calista.
John was a World War II Veteran, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving as a certified Air Traffic Controller with the then Army Air Corp.
Following his military service, he enrolled at Providence College, graduating Magna Cum Laude. John went on to earn a Masters Degree in Journalism from Boston University.
Upon graduation from Boston University, he joined the then Pawtucket Times as a news reporter where he worked for 5 1/2 years. In 1959, John was recruited by the Governor of Rhode Island to undertake a Public Information Program in the State Department of Public Works.
In 1962, John was named the first Executive Director of Redevelopment in Pawtucket and served in that capacity as Community Development Director for 21 years. While he was Director of Redevelopment, he helped the City of Pawtucket obtain $40 million dollars in federal funding which supported downtown and neighborhood activities.
Upon John's retirement from the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency, he turned his attention to the Pawtucket City Council and served as Councilor-At-Large for four terms.
For the past several years, he continued to serve the state and community. John was a member of The City Planning Commission and an active Senior Citizens Advocate, also serving as an Ambassador with the Blue Chip for Medicare HMO Program, administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI.
John established and chaired a committee whose purpose was to obtain donations from the private sector to totally fund the Pawtucket Fourth of July Fireworks Display. He was also a member of the Pawtucket Hall of Fame Committee.
During his career, John was noted for attention to detail and long hours in whichever undertaking he was involved. At various times of his life, he served on the Board of Directors of Notre Dame Hospital in Central Falls (also serving for a time as its Finance Committee Chairperson). At one time, John was trustee of the Old Slater Mill Association, an active member of the former Pawtucket Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the City's Representative to the State Heritage Committee of '86. He was also a former President of Club Madeirense in Central Falls.
While John was an avid Boston Red Sox fan from the age of 12, his true passion was for his family and the time they spent together. To his family and friends, he will be remembered as a true gentleman for his loyalty, integrity, honor, and impeccable reputation.
In addition to being a devoted husband to his wife, Mary, John was a loving father and grandfather. He leaves a daughter, Patricia A. Roberts of Seekonk, a son, J. Jeffrey Calista and his wife Linda of Pawtucket, a grandson, Kyle C. Gannon of Pawtucket, and a granddaughter, Jillian A. Bradley and her husband Kevin of East Providence. John was the brother of Alice Rodrigues of Lincoln, RI, and the late Joseph Q. Calista, and the late James Q. Calista. He also leaves behind his brother in-law, Joseph Rodrigues, and two sisters-in-law, Doris Calista and Linda Calista, along with several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many loving friends.
The funeral for Mr. Calista will be Saturday, September 22, at 9:00 am from the MANNING-HEFFERN FUNERAL HOME, 68 Broadway, Pawtucket. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Teresas Church, 358 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket at 10:00 am. His burial will be with full Military Honors at Notre Dame Cemetery, Pawtucket. The calling hours for Mr. Calista will be Friday from 4-7 pm at the Manning-Heffern Funeral Home.
Because of John's dedication and commitment to the City of Pawtucket and its residents, In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name, to the "City of Pawtucket Thanksgiving Basket Fund" and mailed to 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860. For online condolences please visit