hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


December 27, 2012

A Christmas spirit that's remained indelible


Church was another focal point, whether it was a Polish Mass at St. Michael’s or another at All Saints Church following the merger of Haverhill’s Catholic churches in Haverhill in 1998. When help was sought to erect a manger scene at All Saints, the Cardarellis were quick to respond.

At the other end of town, Dr. Joe Cardarelli Jr. maintains an orthodontist practice on Summer Street. You can’t miss it when you drive by during the holiday season. It’s the one with the Christmas tree all adorned and stretching to the sky.

When young Joe lights his tree, Christmas has officially come to the city.

Well, this year, there’s an added glow. Joe’s daughter Jillian has been making quite the name for herself as a songstress, singing the national anthem at Fenway Park, Bruins and Celtics games, along with the Kennedy Library.

She’s a student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., with eyes set on the Grand Ole Oprey.

Over Thanksgiving, she drew about 250 patrons to the Roma for a concert, dedicating a Johnny Cash number to her late grandfather.

Three generations of Cardarellis got together this Christmas to remember their patriarch, the guy who was chairman of the board for so many years at Northeast Community Credit Union.

The guy who reached out to the less fortunate as a year-round Santa, helping his church and community without fanfare. He was the eucharistic minister who served the altar of God, with his wife in the same role.

He was also the World War II veteran who was Army through-and-through. When Gertrude took over a business called Merrimack Industrial Finishers, Joe tagged along and turned it into a husband-wife operation making paint for the government.

And then there was Christmas. As memory recalls, I was making the rounds throughout the city one year, photographing the brightest and best-looking homes.

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