The story of Carl Amelio’s life, and his accomplishments, could easily fill several volumes. The friendships he made and the community problems that he worked to solve are countless. He was a mentor, an energetic fund raiser, and a friend to many. Carl Amelio held the City of Nashua–its people and its problems–as near and dear to himself, and there are few in the city who have not benefited from his work, or in some way from his efforts.
I chose the photographs shown here from my personal collection, and that is how I will always remember Mr. Amelio. He had a smile on his face as he greeted everyone with a warm handshake and kind words. If you had a problem, he offered to help you solve it; if you were celebrating, he was delighted if you invited him to join in. He was 100% a genuinely intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate man.
Carl Amelio was born Aug. 9, 1907, in Taverna, Italy, son of Carmine and Rose (Cosentino) Amelio. He emigrated from Calabria, Italy, to Providence, R.I., with his family when he was 7 years old. He grew up in Providence, attended schools there, and graduated from Providence Technical High School, and then attended Wentworth Institute.
According to his obituary, Carl Amelio began his military career in the mid-30s when he joined the Army Air Corps’ 152nd Observation Squadron. He served during World War II and in Japan during the Korean War. During the Berlin Contingency 1961/1962, he served as the Deputy Group Commander of the 157th (MAC) Heavy Air Transport Group. At the time of his retirement, he was the executive officer of the 157th Military Airlift Group. Carl Amelio received numerous awards and decorations, among them the Army and the Air Force commendation medals–the Korean War service medal; the Air Force anti- submarine air patrol medal; and special awards from the governor of New Hampshire, the State Adjutant General, the Air Force and the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. He retired from the Air Force in 1967, as Lieut. Colonel, after serving 28 years in the military.
His obituary continues on with a list of many, but not all of his professional and personal works: “He served as FAA director of personnel for the Northeast Region, where he devised an advanced study program at Rivier College for air traffic controllers that later became a model for other FAA regions. He helped establish the Federal Aviation Administration/New England Aeronautical Institute Cooperative Educational Program and helped locate the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center in Nashua. An active member of the community since 1943, Mr. Amelio served on the advisory board of Rivier College and St. Joseph Hospital board of directors in 1976. He established the Rivier College/St. Joseph Hospital bachelor degree program for nursing. In 1973, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Rivier College. In 1994, his 18 years of service to the hospital was saluted by the New Hampshire Hospital Association when he was presented the James A. Hamilton Founder’s Award.”
Carl Amelio was the president of the St. Joseph Hospital Advisory Board and member of its Finance Committee and Executive Board. He was also the chairman of the St. Joseph Hospital Advisory Board School of Practical Nursing Scholarship Committee; chairman of the Combined Federal Campaign for the greater Nashua area for 1972/1973; past president of the New England Federal Personnel Council; past president of St. Joseph’s Church Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Executive Board; past president of the St. Joseph Church Holy Name Society; chairman of Nashua Sr. High School Objectives and Philosophy Committee; director of the Boys Club; a director of the Mid-Merrimack Health Planning Council; and past president of the Greater Nashua Health Planning Council. He was a member of the N.H. and R.I. Air National Guard. He held memberships in the American Legion Coffey Post; the Boy Scouts District Steering Committee; the NH Federal Executive’s Association; the Retired Officer’s Association; and the Air Force Association. He was named the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 1994.
A more youthful face than I remember looked out at me from a Nashua Telegraph article of April 26, 1951. The story reported that Captain Carl Amelio, USAF of 7 Crown Street, left the city today en route to Japan where he will report to the Far East Air Force headquarters….A World War II veteran, Captain Amelio had been serving as personnel officer at the Grenier Air Force base in Manchester. He was a member of the 133rd Fighter Squadron, a former Air National Guard unit then stationed at Grenier. In 1955 another article reported on his promotion to Major. He was a Lieutenant Colonel at the time of his retirement from the military.
On a personal note, Carl Amelio married 19 June 1943 in Nashua NH to Mary Catherine Hansberry, daughter of Martin Joseph & Mary Catherine (O’Neill) Hansberry. Their children were Mary Elizabeth (Amelio) Merchant, deceased; Robert Amelio, and Kathleen (Amelio) Whall.
Carl Amelio died Thursday, March 14, 2002, at his long time home at 88 Almont Street in Nashua NH. On that day the city and its people had great reason to mourn, but even more reason to celebrate the life of this remarkable man. My life was better for knowing him.