Fred Calicchio, the last of three brothers who sailed in the US Merchant Marine, passed this summer after an incredible career at sea — and then a second career promoting marine safety and the accomplishments of his brother Dom, a lead investigator in the history making investigation of the SS Marine Electric.
He made regular visits to the Coast Guard Investigator & Marine Safety Training school in York, Va., where he helped present an award named for Dom. He was a tireless friend to me, encouraging my work in marine safety journalism.
The three brothers — Michael was the third — were distinctly different. “We don’t even pronounce our names the same,” Fred once told me. But they were fiercely loyal to what they called “The Old Man’s Code” of integrity.
“Be respectful, be fair and never compromise the truth” was what their dad told them, and it was that code that Dom followed in investigating the wreck of the SS Marine Electric in 1983. The report of that board helped overturn decades of lax Coast Guard inspection of old World War II era rust buckets plaguing the American merchant marine.
My sympathies to Lillian and the family. Bang the drum slowly. A great spirit has passed.
Captain Alfred Albert Calicchio
December 23, 1930 – June 22, 2023
Alfred Albert Calicchio was born on 12/23/1930 in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in East Boston with his mother, father and four siblings.
Alfred went to high school there and soon after, at the age of 18, joined the United States Merchant Marine. He wanted to follow his brothers who had also joined the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard and served in WWII.
Alfred started his career as an ordinary seaman and moved up to the rank of Captain by the age of 27. He and his two brothers were all serving as Captains at the same time and at early ages. He spent the next 38 years as Captain of many ships. He sailed all over the world and loved the sea. He was a Master and pilot and could sail into any port with unlimited tonnage on his license. Very few had the knowledge, experience or the license(s) to do so.
Like his brothers, Alfred was a true patriot that felt an obligation to serve his country and was a “mariners” Captain, always looking out for the welfare of his crew. He was also a tireless advocate for Coast Guard Investigator & Marine Safety Training.
During this time, Alfred met and married his loving wife Lillian M. Phelan of Somerville Mass. Due to his job, the two traveled and lived in several states as they began their family. Ultimately, the two came back to the Boston area where they settled in Burlington, Mass. This is where they raised their six children. Capt. Calicchio continued his career and he took a job in New York ( Spentonbush-Red Star Transport) . It was a two week on and off schedule so he could be home more often.
Alfred was also a great carpenter, a skill that he learned from his father and passed on to his sons. During his time off, he built a small cottage in Waterboro Maine on Lake Sherburne. Alfred and Lillian wanted to keep their children busy during the summers. They gave us great memories at this lake house and Alfred even built the front of the cottage in the shape of the bow of a ship. If you were on the lake, it looked like a ship was sailing towards you.
Later, Alfred and Lillian moved to Plantation Florida where they have since resided. After 47 years in the USMM, Capt. Calicchio retired here at the age of 65 where he spent the last 27 years enjoying retirement and his family.
Capt. Calicchio passed away peacefully at his home on June 22, 2023 and was surrounded by his loving family including Rocco and Suzie, his beloved dogs. He was a loving husband, father and friend to all. He was a great American Patriot who loved God, country and his family. He always lived his life by a code that he learned from his father, “Be respectful, be fair and never compromise the truth”. Alfred and his brothers called this, “The old man’s code”. It comes from the heart and Alfred had a big heart.
He is preceded in death by his parents Alberico and Lucrezia Calicchio, his sisters Diane and Susan, brothers Domenic and Michael.
Alfred is survived by his loving wife Lillian M. Calicchio of Plantation, daughter MaryAnn and husband Albert Piacentini of Revere Mass, son Alfred and wife Gloria of Burlington Mass, daughter Judith Frazier of Plantation Florida, son Joseph and wife Lori of Ft. Lauderdale Florida, son Daniel Calicchio of Plantation Florida, and son Lawrence and wife Kristina of Plantation Florida. Alfred is also survived by 27 grand and great grandchildren with one more on the way.
Capt. Calicchio wished to express his affections for his family, his St. Gregory family where he attended daily Mass, and all of his many friends along the way.
A celebration of life will be determined at a later date.