JAMES MERLONI SR., 87, LABOR LEADER IN FRAMINGHAM
James Merloni of Ashland, a Framingham civic and labor leader, died Thursday in the Kathleen Daniels Nursing Home. He was 87. Born in Framingham, he attended Holy Cross College on an athletic scholarship for football until 1934, when he left to support his family.
He dedicated his career to advancing the status and dignity of the laborer. Elected in 1934, he was the first bilingual president of the Laborers Local 609.
He then became an international representative for the Laborers' International Union of North America, assigned to Eastern Canada and New England. He was also well-known for his innovation in pioneering the concept of labor-management cooperation, becoming president of the Massachusetts Laborers' District Council, a post he held until 1987.
Mr. Merloni also established one of the first Boy Scout troops in Framingham, Troop 1 in 1934, and was a scoutmaster into the early 1950s.
He leaves his wife, Louise (Luisetti); his daughter, Elizabeth Minnucci, of Southborough; two sons, James V. Jr. of Ashland and Victor of Southborough; two brothers, Alfred of Framingham and Domenic of Southborough; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be said tomorrow at 10 a.m. in St. Cecilia's Church in Ashland. Burial will be in St. Tarcisius Cemetery, Framingham.