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MAZZOTTA, Salvatore "Sal" George 75, died Thursday, October 13th 2016 at his home of 46 years in Bedford, MA. He leaves his mother, Gertrude Mazzotta; his son, Matthew; his siblings, Larry, Angela and Camilla; cousins, nieces and nephews; and many close friends saddened by the loss. Sal was born in Middletown, CT and at age two moved with his family to Hyattsville, MD. Summers were spent at the beach with his large family in Westbrook and Old Saybrook, CT where he loved to fish, swim, water ski and pilot his grandfather's 16' Lyman boat, Bella. On September 17, 1956, within weeks of the family returning to Middletown, Sal, then 15 years old, was injured while participating in a high school football practice. At that time his type of injury was often fatal. Expectations for those who did survive were guarded at best. Sal endured over a year's worth of recovery, therapy and rehabilitation before returning to and completing high school. During this time he learned to drive with hand controls installed on his mother's Ford station wagon, quite an achievement for a quadriplegic in those days. Sal recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the accident that left him paralyzed. Although his body was confined to a wheelchair his mind and spirit were sharp and determined. He did not allow his injury to define him and quietly defied the conventional thinking of what a person in a wheelchair could or should expect for their life. Sal graduated from M.I.T. with both a bachelors and a master's degree in civil engineering. He often recounted his experience working with an early computer at M.I.T. that was roughly the size of a basketball court and barely had the processing power of a "flip phone" from the '90's. While completing his master's degree Sal met Libby Knickerbocker Weatherbee who was completing a master's degree in teaching at Harvard. They married in 1967 and after moving to Bedford, MA adopted their son Matthew. Libby was a high school Spanish teacher and devoted wife and mother until losing her battle with cancer in 1982. Sal's career began at a prestigious Boston area structural design firm, LeMessieur Consultants. He worked as an engineer and had a key role in creating ground breaking design and drafting integrations with computers used throughout the company. LeMessieur's worked on many projects in the Boston area including designing a damper solution that would stabilize the Hancock Building thus preventing motion sickness for upper story occupants along with other structural concerns. When you see the Hancock Building or visit the New England Aquarium, the Boston Federal Reserve or New Boston Garden think of Sal! In the early 90's Sal was laid off and found employment through the Software Fellowship, a social program that created software career opportunities for those skilled but not accredited in the field. Sal was first paired with and later joined Lotus Development Corporation in 1991. Remaining at the company when it was acquired by IBM, he was a successful systems architect until retirement. Sal always enjoyed the act of working in a team, problem-solving, and the pride of a job well done. In his retirement Sal could often be found reading any of three or four books at one time, debating and opining on Facebook or "solving the world's problems" while having a meal with dear friends. He recently attended a family wedding where he was able to enjoy time with three generations of his family. An avid reader, Sal was a strong supporter of the Bedford Public Library. In lieu of flowers please support the library through the fund that has been set up in his name. Bedford Free Public Library 7 Mudge Way Bedford, MA 01730 Att: Richard Callaghan in memory of Salvatore Mazzotta A "Celebration of Life" will be announced in the coming weeks.
Published in The Boston Globe on Oct. 27, 2016
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