They came from all walks of life, bowlers and business people, friends and family, people of all faiths and backgrounds – and what they all had in common was this: to have known Kathleen “Kathy” (Pawlak) Finklestein was to have known an extraordinary human being.
Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein
Many, like Joe Surette, who came with his wife, Cathy Walata, to the Welsh Funeral Home to say good-bye, said just so with their words and actions.
“She was truly one of the nicest people I ever met in my life,” said Surette. “We are all so saddened by her passing.”
Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein died on April 10 after experiencing a sudden and overwhelming advance of cancer that had struck this brave and seemingly indestructible woman four years ago. She was 62 years old.
The daughter of the late Chester P. and Carole M. (Lombardozzi) Pawlak, Kathy grew up in the family home on Broadway. She was an excellent student who attended St. Stanislaus Parochial School on Chestnut Street, Shurtleff Junior High School, and Chelsea High School, Class of 1973.
During her high school years, she started dating another “All-A” student with a similarly warm personality and generousness, Neal Finklestein. They were married in 1979 and shared 39 years of happiness together. As Kathy’s sister, Chrissy Pawlak, told the large assemblage at the Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Revere, “It was at Chelsea High School where she hit the jackpot of all jackpots, she started dating Neal. Everyone should have a Neal in their lives.”
Many knew Kathy from the candlepin bowling scene. She helped her wonderful father, “Chet,” run Chelsea Square Alleys, a place where the Pawlak family made everyone feel welcomed and safe.
Kathy became an outstanding bowler and she and her sister, Chrissy, reached the top tier of the sport when they appeared on the Channel 5 “Candlepin Doubles” professional bowling show. She also won a mixed doubles championship in the old Chelsea Record Bowling Tournament, leading the way with a record-setting, five-string score of 610.
Hall of Famer Richie “Hawk” Halas, one of so many bowlers who paid their respects to Kathy, said of his fellow professional, “As great a bowler as she was, she was an even better person.”
Known for her keen organizational skills, Kathy directed candlepin bowling leagues in Chelsea and Malden, providing bowlers with a fun night of competition and camaraderie each week.
Chelsea business owners became admirers of Kathy Finklestein and her incredible work ethic through her efforts at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Programs such as the Pot-O-Gold Dinner and the Brighter Holidays Committee Awards presentations brought so much enjoyment to Chamber members because Kathy put her maximum effort in to every endeavor she undertook.
Allan I. Alpert, past president of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, said Kathy, who owned Chelsea Secretarial Services, was a tremendous asset to the organization.
“Kathy was very active as an outstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce as our secretary, and when we didn’t have an executive director, she pretty much filled the role on a voluntary basis, and would not take any compensation from the Chamber that she loved so dearly,” said Alpert. “She is really going to be missed.”
Peter Zaksheski, also a past president of the Chamber, said of Kathy, “You could not have a truer friend and confidante than Kathy. When I was Chamber president, if I were good, Kathy was the reason. She was the backbone. She was such a great person.”
The Rev. Richard A. Uftring presided over the funeral Mass at the church. He knew Kathy personally through her being a faithful parishioner and a Eucharistic Minister and her membership in the Church Crochet Club.
“Kathy lived her faith, she loved her family – this is her family of friends,” said the Rev. Uftring.
Kathy’s cousin, Judy Covino, and sister, Chrissy Pawlak, each delivered beautiful words of remembrance.
“Kathy was all about giving and she gave it all to her involvement in the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce where you would find her on the planning committees for the Pot-O-Gold, the Christmas Holiday Children’s Holiday Party, and of course my favorite, the annual trip to Foxwoods or Mohegan,” said Covino.
“She was a great behind-the-scenes person who never took the credit. The success of so many fundraisers were the results of her tireless efforts.”
Covino noted how Kathy and Neal loved going to the Boston Garden to cheer on the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. “She also attended many Red Sox games, including Big Papi’s last game.”
Covino told how Kathy would assist others as the family caregiver.
“If you look up caregiver in the dictionary, Kathy’s picture would be right beside it. She was always there for everybody.”
Chrissy Pawlak said as time went on, “Kathy became my first and forever best friend. Following her through life was easy, even though those were really big shoes to follow. My sister was the smartest person I will ever know academically and in life.”
Chrissy recalled how much Kathy and Neal enjoyed being with their family and friends at gatherings and on trips. “I know Kathy loved every minute of it. She took over the holiday traditions, keeping everybody together at her house. The summertime was her favorite where the backyard and the pool were open and the barbecue was going.”
Chrissy perfectly articulated what everyone, including their good friend, Jimmy Manzo, will know forever, “Kathy really was a beautiful person and a blessing to the world. She was the first one to step up to help anyone. She loved doing a lot of things for a lot of people. She will always be my hero. Give mom and dad hugs and kisses. I will forever be proud to be Kathy’s sister and you, Kathy, truly were the wind beneath our wings.”
The 30th Annual Chelsea Chamber of Commerce $10,000 Pot of Gold is around the corner. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at Anthony’s of Malden, 105 Canal Street, Malden, MA. It will be an outstanding evening filled with great networking opportunities, delicious food and Back to the 80s fun, all while supporting your Chamber. This is the longest running major fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber! Proceeds greatly contribute to the important work the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce does for the business community in Chelsea. First prize is $10,000. Only 250 will be sold and can be purchased by Chamber members and nonmembers alike. Act now and you could be the next $10,000 Pot of Gold winner!
Chairs Sue Gallant and Arthur Arsenault are working with their committee to make the 30th Pot of Gold the best yet! The Chamber will be going back to the 80s when it all started celebrating all the iconic music, fads and outfits from that decade. Prizes will be awarded to the best outfits from the 80s! Get creative and let’s see what you can put together! Maybe you will be one of our prize winners!
We also have opportunities to purchase raffle tickets to win Megaraffle baskets that are each valued at over $500. Themed baskets include Nights on the Town with Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox tickets, Ultimate Tailgate Package and a North Shore experience to name a few. We will also raffle off an Instant Wine Cellar where one person will win enough wine to start their own wine Cellar as well as a 50/50 raffle! So many great prizes to win besides the big prize of $10,000!
Tickets are $175.00 each. The ticket price includes one entry in the drawing for a chance to win the $10,000 top prize, opportunities to win one of our many fabulous door prizes, one dinner which will include a delicious meal of surf and turf and open bar. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased for $60. Festivities start at 6:00pm with dinner at 7:00pm and the first ticket drawn at 8pm.
The Chamber would like to thank the following for sponsoring this important fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce:
Chelsea Bank, a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank
MGH Health Center
Arsenault & Cline, CPAs, Stop & Compare Supermarkets, Cameron Real Estate Group, Hispanic American Institute, North Shore Advisory Group
Coprico Printing, Cataldo Ambulance, Chelsea Community Cable Television, Fairmont Copley Plaza, El Planeta, Independent Newspaper Group
Sponsorships are still available. Your name will be included on the Chamber website, in social and print media and advertised throughout the event. What a great way to highlight your business to people from all over the North Shore!
Only 250 tickets will be sold, so get your tickets now! Check out the Chamber website at www.chelseachamber.org, call the office at 617-884-4877 or drop by 308 Broadway Chelsea today. Rich Cuthie, Executive Director of the Chamber, will be happy to help you pick that winning ticket number!
We hope that Chelsea residents will support the Taste of Chelsea event, which is HarborCov’s signature fundraiser of the year. The event is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m., at 99 Marginal St. in Chelsea.
The event is co-hosted by the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, who has helped raise funds for HarborCov for its work with victims of domestic violence and raising awareness about domestic violence.
The issue has dominated the news with the incident involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice that resulted in his release from the team and banishment from the National Football League.
HarborCov does great work at its site in Chelsea and we are grateful to its leaders, Co-Executive Directors Lynn Peters and Kourou Pich, for the valuable services they provide for victims of domestic violence. HarborCov is has earned much recognition for its outstanding work.
We want to thank especially Chelsea Bank CEO Joseph Vinard, whose efforts in building the Taste of Chelsea in to one of the most anticipated events of the year, have been extraordinary. The thousands of dollars raised each year is a tribute to the leadership and energy of Vinard, a true unsung hero in this city.
We also extend our gratitude to Eastern Minerals for allowing the use of their great outdoor facility for this event.
Please enjoy the delicious foods that will be available at the event while helping this important cause.
Several downtown Chelsea businesses and the Chamber of Commerce are preparing for a major retail promotion this coming Friday, Saturday and Monday that looks to capitalize on back-to-school shopping.
Chamber Director Rich Cuthie said there are some 20 businesses participating in the promotion this year, and it looks to be bigger and better than ever before.
“These business are Chamber members and non-Chamber members and we have 20 or so,” he said. “There really is a nucleus of stores downtown and they will have balloons in front of them to let people know they are part of it. It’s a good mixture of stores.”
While back-to-school is the major retail push in the promotion, one doesn’t have to be after pencils and sweatpants to take advantage of the effort. Stores include clothing stores, phone stores, bakeries, pizza shops, nail shops and even a barber shop in the Parkway Plaza.
“You don’t need to be a student and back to school could mean you are a college student and are getting a new cell phone,” he said. “You don’t need to be a Chelsea Public School student or parent to participate and enter the drawing.”
Aside from the sales, the Chamber will be holding a drawing for three Mastercard gift cards – $100, $50 and $25. To enter the drawing, one needs to make a purchase at a participating store this weekend, and take the receipt to the Chamber of Commerce office at 308 Broadway.
“We’ll stamp it and have people fill out a card to enter the drawing,” said Cuthie. “On Monday, after it’s all over, we’ll hold the drawing and notify the winners.”
Cuthie said the push is very simple – to capture the foot traffic on Broadway and get them to think about buying locally.
“Basically, the Chamber is trying to capitalize on the foot traffic the downtown has,” he said. “There are tons of people walking the streets of Broadway at every hour of the day. We’re trying to get them to pop into the stores and spend some money locally for back-to-school.”
Metro Credit Union is hosting the fifth annual barbecue Multi-Chamber Networking fundraiser event to benefit The Neighborhood Developers and CONNECT on Aug. 26, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the Metro headquarters, 200 Revere Beach Parkway. Pictured above is the planning committee, seated are, Saritin Rizzuto of Metro and Sheri Raftery of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce. Standing, from left, are Licy Sweeney, Kizzy Reyes of Caribbean Liquors, Maureen Foley of Residence Inn Marriott, and Rich Cuthie, executive director of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. For tickets, please contact Saritin Rizzuto at 617-851-6749 or visit the Chelsea Chamber Web site. The Neighborhood Developers would like to thank the Phantom Gourmet, HagstromWhite, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Distrigas, Paul Revere Transportation, D’Ambrosio Brown, Harbour Food Service, Olivia’s Organic, and Metro Credit Union.
The Pot of Gold Committee. Front row are Janice Sikorski and Renee Caso Griffin. Back row are Jeff
Gigliello, Alberto Calvo, Susan Gallant, Barbara Martin, Chamber President Arthur Arsenault, Dennis
Cataldo, and Executive Director Rich Cuthie.
The Chelsea Chamber of Commerce $10,000 Pot of Gold is at hand. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at Holiday Inn Boston/Peabody on Rte. 1 North in Peabody. Be part of this outstanding evening, which will be filled with great company, food and flair, all while supporting your business community. This is the only major fundraiser for the Chamber. Your presence can win you $10,000. Tickets are limited to 250 and can be purchased by Chamber members and nonmembers alike. Act now and you could be the next $10,000 Pot of Gold winner!
Allan Alpert, past president and master of ceremonies and Arthur Arsenault, president of
the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, presented a Chelsea Clock in appreciation to Patrick
Wardell, chief executive officer of Cambridge Health Alliance, for being the guest speaker
at the Chamber breakfast on Wednesday at the Wyndham Hotel on Everett Avenue.