The recent passing of Anthony C. Simboli marks the end of an era in the recent development and history of the City of Chelsea.
For almost four decades, Mr. Simboli’s company, ACS Development Corp., played the major role in the resurrection and renewal of our city in the wake of the Great Fire of 1973 and the subsequent national recessions that hindered Chelsea’s comeback after that conflagration.
However, despite the ebb-and-flow of the economy and the political implosion of the city — Chelsea was placed into state receivership in the dark days of the early-1990s — Mr. Simboli never lost faith in a community that in many respects became his adopted hometown.
His company launched countless major commercial real estate projects in Chelsea, most notably the FBI building at Maple and Everett Aves. Almost all of the major development projects that have taken place along Everett Ave. in the past two decades are a result of the foresight and faith that Mr. Simboli placed in Chelsea.
However, Mr. Simboli’s interest in Chelsea was never a one-way street. He was active in community affairs and became known as one of the most generous benefactors in the city to various civic and youth organizations. His scholarships at Chelsea High School have provided financial aid to more than 150 CHS graduates headed to college.
Mr. Simboli also was a large donor to many other causes. On the Brighton campus of Boston College, his alma mater, the building that houses the School of Theology and Ministry and the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies now bears the name Simboli Hall in recognition of the donation made by Mr. Simboli and his wife, Gloria.
The Simbolis made a large gift to the Brigham & Women’s Hospital that endowed the Gloria M. and Anthony C. Simboli Distinguished Chair in Asthma Research. Mr. Simboli was an asthma sufferer, but received extraordinary treatment at the hospital for which he showed his gratitude.
Mr. Simboli led an amazing life that epitomized the American Dream. He grew up in the North End and entered Boston College at the age of 16 in 1946, becoming the first member of his family to attend college. He accelerated his way through his studies, graduating with both a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in philosophy in the same year, becoming the only person in the history of that elite school to attain those seemingly disparate degrees.
He then went to work for the CIA , serving for three years in the Far East. He returned home to work in the private sector, eventually forming the hugely successful real estate firm that bears his initials.
Anthony C. Simboli lived life to the fullest, but he never forgot his roots and where he came from, which perhaps is why Chelsea and its people held a special place in his heart. The city always will owe him a debt of gratitude for being the moving force that helped Chelsea rise phoenix-like from the ashes in a manner that truly benefited our city and its people.
We know we join with all of our fellow residents, especially those who came to know Mr. Simboli personally, in expressing our condolences to the Simboli family, particularly his devoted wife Gloria, son Anthony J. (who runs his own real estate development firm, also based in Chelsea), and lovely daughter Patricia (an accomplished business woman in her own right who now is the President of ACS Development), on the loss of their wonderful, kind, and loving husband and father who was a man of honor and deep faith.
May he rest in peace.