BOSTON — State officials are mourning the loss of former MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola, who died this past weekend following a lengthy battle with cancer, Massachusetts state officials confirmed on Monday.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack opened Monday’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting with kind words and a moment of silence in memory of DePaola.
“Everyone who knew Frank knows that he will be missed by his colleagues for his warm sense of humor and remembered as a hands-on manager who took the time to go out and visit the different parts of the organization and the projects,” Pollack said.
Gov. Charlie Baker said, “I think what everyone would say about Frank is that he handled his cancer the same way he handled everything else in his life, with a certain kind of quiet dignity and grace that was consistent with almost everything he did.”
Pollack informed employees about DePaola’s death in a Monday morning email, noting she was “deeply saddened” and “shocked” to share the news.
“He was a good man, a great engineer and an exceptional transportation leader,” Pollack wrote in the email.
DePaola — who also once served as acting state transportation secretary — died on Saturday.
He stepped down from his role running the MBTA in May 2016 to focus on his cancer treatment following a career in public service that spanned more than two decades.Pollack described DePaola as the “go-to guy” when either MassDOT or the MBTA needed problems solved. He was instrumental in getting the MBTA back on track following a spate of blizzards in 2015 — something Pollack said influenced her decision to name him MBTA general manager.
Fiscal and Management Control Board member Brian Shortsleeve, who succeeded DePaola as general manager of the MBTA, called DePaola “a beloved leader and an extraordinarily talented public servant who will be missed by all of those who had the pleasure to serve with him in state government.”
Current MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, upon hearing the news of DePaola’s death, said the former MBTA chief would be remembered as “a valued and dedicated colleague. He brought a genuine sense of warmth and collegiality to his work. His counsel and company will be missed.”