Amid the grief, a sense of relief as court officer’s body is recovered
Last week at this time, Anthony Tufo’s co-workers at Quincy District Court were hoping for a miracle. Today, they are preparing for a funeral.
“It’s like the air has been sucked out of the building. Tony was the life of the building,” said Arthur Tobin, the court’s clerk/magistrate.
Court Officer Anthony “Tony” Tufo, 60, fell from a boat in Boston Harbor on July 3. On Saturday, his body was recovered by State Police around 7:20 a.m. near Castle Island in South Boston. A passerby spotted the body and reported it to authorities.
“Everyone is just so relieved that they brought Tony back,” Tobin said.
Chief Court Officer Peter Cordeiro said that everyone who knew Tufo tried to hold out hope all last week that he had somehow survived the accident.
“We’re hoping now that the family can now find peace. I know as far as the staff goes, it’s a big relief,” he said.
Cordeiro said it was a testament to Tufo’s popularity that the court was getting sympathy calls and visits not only from court personnel and sheriffs’ departments around the state, but from some who had appeared in court as defendants.
“He liked people. He treated everyone with respect,” Cordeiro said. “Tony was really an exceptional person. It’s absolutely remarkable the outpouring of support we’ve received. I can’t think of another person in the whole trial court who would receive this kind of treatment.”
A court officer for 16 years, Tufo fell from a 34-foot motorboat in Boston Harbor at about 6 p.m. July 3. He was on the boat with his brother-in-law, Joseph Flaherty, and friends when he disappeared.
A search led by the Coast Guard was called off two days later.
Speaking for the Tufo family, as well as those of his wife, Mary Elizabeth, and sister, Bella Travaglini of Peabody, George Regan thanked all those who have helped.
“All three families are absolutely devastated at this loss,” Regan said. “We want to thank all of our friends and strangers for all their prayers and support. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
“We want to thank the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and police and fire rescue units in Boston, Winthrop, Quincy and Weymouth for all their efforts to locate our beloved Tony,” said Regan, speaking for the families.
Tufo’s father-in-law, former state Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti of Quincy, said in a statement issued through Regan, “There are no words that can describe our loss. He was like a son.”
A funeral Mass for Tufo will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Agatha’s Church in East Milton. There will be no visiting hours.
In addition to his wife and sister, Tufo leaves three sons, Anthony, Daniel and Christopher, all of Quincy.
Friends described Tufo as very devoted to his family.
Tobin said he expects arrangements will be made so that any court employees who wants to attend the funeral can do so.
Tobin said the court staff is “like a huge extended family, and Tony helped create that.”
And while another court officer will be in Tufo's place in the first session courtroom at Quincy District Court, he cannot be replaced, Cordeiro said.
“He set the mark for everyone to try to reach,” Cordeiro said. “He loved his job. He was the ideal employee.”
Fred Hanson may be reached at email@example.com.