HAVERHILL - Salvatore John Salerno, 96, of Groveland, formerly of Bradford, passed peacefully at his Nichols Village home on June 29, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on September 4, 1924, in Lawrence, MA to the late Antonio and Nunziata (Contarino) Salerno. He was the beloved husband of F. Antoinette Salerno for more than 71 years, and he was the brother of Dr. Joseph Salerno and his wife Helen, of Salem, MA, whom he adored. He was the devoted father of 8 children: Nancy and her husband Dr. Drew Niccolini of Hampton, NH, Anthony and his wife Judy of Wellesley, MA, Patricia and her husband Stephen Crimmin of Bradford, MA, Constance of Merrimac, MA, Teresa of Newburyport, MA, Barbara McCaffery of Hampstead, NH, Mary and her husband Brian Noyes of Groveland, MA, and Jennifer of Haverhill, MA. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren who treasured their Grampy.
At the age of 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard at the height of World War II. His service took him from winter patrols in the dangerous waters of the North Atlantic Ocean to numerous campaigns in the Mediterranean war theaters of Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Following his service, he enrolled in studies at Merrimack College on the G.I. Bill where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He then began his teaching career in the Haverhill school system where he spent the next 35 years as a teacher, and eventually, as a principal. He was admired by both the students whose lives he touched deeply and the many colleagues who enjoyed his collegiality and shared his enthusiasm for educating children. His dual passions for history and the ocean came together during summer breaks from teaching where he worked for many years as a historian and lecturer at the U.S. Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, MA.
Sam was an active member of Sacred Hearts Parish in Bradford, MA where he once served as the head of the Parish Council. He was past president of the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the American Cancer Society and also was president and treasurer of the Haverhill Teacher’s Association.
While his kindness and compassion, perpetual optimism, and ever-present sense of humor and lighthearted manner will be missed by all who knew him, it is his altruistic and giving spirit that will endure as his greatest legacy. His family is deeply grateful to the staff at Nichols Village, as well as the dedicated caretakers who became a joyful part of his life over the past several years, especially Debbie McInnes, Yamir Rodriguez, and Wanda Cook. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable donation to the Haverhill Education Foundation to support projects and programs in the Haverhill Public Schools that excite students to learn and enhance their academic achievement.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 8, in the Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 S. Main Street, Haverhill from 9:00 to 10:30 AM. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 S. Main Street, Haverhill at 11:00 AM. Interment with U.S. Coast Guard honors in Linwood Cemetery, Haverhill. For guestbook, visit www.driscollcares.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Salvatore "Sam" J. Salerno, please visit our floral store.