Joseph “Joe” Fatalo, vice president of operations at Suffolk Downs and a long-time employee of the track, died June 15 from melanoma at his home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. He was 66.
Fatalo, an East Boston native, began his Suffolk Downs career in 1965 as a mutuel teller. His career is intertwined with Suffolk Downs’ history, starting with his father, Americo Fatalo, who worked as a mutuel clerk in the 1930s until his retirement age. Joe rose to the position of business manager of the tellers’ labor union and worked with tireless dedication toward the reopening of the track in 1992 after its closure in 1989.
He was asked to join the track’s management team in 1998, serving as the track’s assistant general manager prior to being named vice president of operations last year.
Fatalo was a familiar figure around Suffolk Downs, building relationships with employees from every area of the track, from the parking lot, to the grandstand, to the jockeys’ room, and to the boardroom.
Fatalo’s survivors include his wife of 43 years, Lynda, and three daughters. Visiting hours are June 18 at Campbell - Lee, Moody, Russell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot St., Beverly, Mass., and a funeral service will be held June 19 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 62 School St., Manchester, Mass. The family has established the Joseph Fatalo Memorial Scholarship.