Stoughton is grief-stricken after the death of Al and Aldina Pedro who were killed in a motorcycle collision last Monday night, June 28, at about 8:30 p.m. on Route 138. They leave behind three children in their 20s.
Town officials shared their memories of Al, a dedicated Department of Public Works employee for 32 years affectionately known as “Al Rubbish” and his wife, Aldina. The couple was riding northbound near 1317 Washington St..on a Harley Davidson when they collided with a Toyota Corolla sedan traveling southbound, according to a statement from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office.
Impact on the town
“It’s one of those things where everyone town-wide has been destroyed,” said Town Manager Robin Grimm, calling it “really very tragic.”
Al Pedro devoted his entire adult life to the Stoughton Department of Public Works (DPW).
“He started working for the town when he was 18,” Grimm said. “He was well known and tremendously respected by everyone. He was extraordinarily hard working, dedicated and a family man.”
“One of the stories I heard from a fellow employee of Al’s at the Department of Public Works is that, when he left Monday afternoon, he had planned on taking Tuesday off to go fishing,” Grimm said. “It just shows you the fleeting nature of life. It’s not very easy to comprehend. And now his children have lost both of their parents at the same time.”
The loss of a close friend
DPW Superintendent of Operations Rich Jasmin worked with Al Pedro during his entire 28-year career and developed a close friendship with him, as they rode together on a rubbish truck for many years.
“He had 32 years of service with the DPW, but he actually started working for the town when he was 16,” Jasmin said. “He was a member of the Cedar Program, a summer youth employment that was popular in the 1980s but faded out in the 90s.”
Jasmin described Pedro as the consummate family man, caring deeply about his wife and three children and working multiple jobs to make sure they were happy. He treated his fellow employees with the same brotherly affection.
“Everyone loved him,” he said. “He would do anything for anybody. He would always go the extra mile. And his family is wonderful.”
Pedro showed the same compassion at work. In one instance, Jasmin said Pedro found a wallet during his duties driving the recycling truck, which has been his position for the last 16 years.
“I stumbled upon a letter in his file from the gentleman who got his wallet back,” he said. “He went through everything to find the owner, and then he drove there in the recycling truck to give it to him.
“I found a handwritten will when I was going through his papers,” Jasmin continued. “He left in his will that his family should ‘feed his brothers in the DPW.’ After I told everyone the news, family members showed up with platters of food.”
Prior to his recycling position, he drove a rubbish truck, gaining him the nickname of “Al Rubbish” throughout Stoughton, he said.
“He didn’t care about the nickname,” Jasmin said. “He loved it.”
In addition to these duties, he spent his entire DPW career sanding and salting the roads during every storm.
Although the Pedros had no life insurance, Al Pedro left behind some specific requests for his family.
“His wife wanted to be buried in a blue or white casket,” Jasmin said. “And he wanted to be cremated. It was almost if he had a premonition that something was going to happen.”
Plans to go fishing
Jasmin was the person who Pedro had told of his plans to go fishing on Tuesday, which was the day after he died.
“I talked to him right before he got on the bike,” he said. “He was heading to the office in Easton for his part-time job and was going to pick up his wife. She very rarely rides that motorcycle.
“He said to me, “Hey, turkey! I’m off tomorrow,” he said, noting how the two liked to joke with each other. “I’m going fishing. I’m going to relax and have a good time, and the next day, too.”
Not long before, Al Pedro discussed the possibility of retiring with Jasmin, who said he reviewed how much time he had served to see if it would be feasible financially
“The most difficult part was being up all night and having to tell his three kids, who are all in their 20s,” he said. “They had no idea of what to do for funeral arrangements, so I have been working on that.”
Equally hard was breaking the news to his colleagues.
“I had to tell the 45 guys, some of whom had worked with him for 25 or 30 years,” Jasmin said. “We are a really close bunch. Some of the guys just broke down.”
Support from officials
He thanked the police and fire departments for their support during the tragedy. Officers and firefighters have stopped by the DPW offices with coffee, doughnuts and expressions of condolences.
“[Police] Chief Donna McNamara has really stepped up and supported us,” he said. “Robin [Grimm] has been very supportive as well.”
His biggest source of strength has been Select Board Chair Joe Mokrisky, his neighbor and friend since childhood.
“He came into my office, closed the door and asked how I was doing,” Jasmin said. “He said, ‘I know you; you hide everything.’
“I told him that this is killing me,” he continued. “He said, ‘Dude, you’re human.’ ”
The new struck Jasmim harder the following day.
“It didn’t even hit me until Tuesday night when I finally got home and sat on my porch that I just lost one of my best friends,” Jasmin said. “As a leader, I wanted to be strong for the kids and my brothers in the DPW. I just had to help because he is like a brother to me.”
He said his friends have told him that he “just adopted three kids.”
“And I would do it all again willingly, because I know Al would have done the same for me,” he said.
Pedro had insisted that his wife, Aldina, not work full-time so that she could care for the children, according to Jasmin. She worked part-time cleaning offices, sometimes taking on two part-time jobs.
“Aldina is originally from Portugal and has a sister here,” Jasmin said. “She was a sweetheart. But that is the only relative she has here, because 90 percent of the family still lives in the Azores.”
She and Al worked part-time cleaning offices at night in their side business.
Between the expense and travel restrictions with COVID-19 in Portugal, he said the rest of the family may not be able to comfort the family in person.
Seventh death for Stoughton DPW
This is the seventh death of a comrade that the DPW has experienced in three years, Jasmin said. Usually, Pedro would be the one telling his coworkers not to grieve and to “suck it up.”
Pedro was the jokester of the DPW, Jasmin added.
“One time, he tied a bucket full of water over the door and pulled it when I walked in,” he said.
The two had a special type of camaraderie, joking with each other rather than expressing their emotions.
“I’d throw a dig at him, and then he’d say, ‘You stupid (so-and-so)!’ and hang up,” Jasmin said. “Even before he got on the motorcycle, he said, ‘See ya, fruitcake.’ He always had to have the last say.”
The funeral will be held from the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt. 27) Stoughton on Friday, July 9 at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Stoughton at 10:30 a.m. Visiting Hours are on Thursday, July 8, from 4-7 p.m. The interment at Evergreen Cemetery will be private. The link is https://farleyfh.tributes.com/obituary/read/Alfredo-J.-Pedro-108521647.
A GoFundMe page has been established to support the family and help cover expenses. The link is https://tinyurl.com/9cd4y9c8