Frank N. Dardeno, Sr.
Frank Nicholas Dardeno was born on September 22, 1921 in Albi, a tiny hamlet North of Catanzaro, in theprovince of Calabria, in Italy to Nicholas and Antoinetta (Durante) Dardeno. Frank, his mother and then only brother left Italy in 1924 while Frank was just 3 years old, to meet his father in the United States. They arrived in Ellis Island,New York, with the burning hope of forging a new life in a new country. Like most immigrants, they were confronted with brutal prejudices; including derision because of their different language, appearance and culture. Making their way to Boston, Massachusetts, they settled in Somerville. Through their diligence and hard work, the Dardeno’s established themselves as a well respected immigrant family.
Frank had always possessed an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, having immersed himself in classic literature and becoming fluent in several languages before even graduating from Somerville High School.
After performing numerous entrance examinations, Frank was admitted and received a full scholarship toHarvard College in the early summer of 1939 for the class of 1943. The class of 1943 at Harvard consisted of about one thousand (1,000) students; Frank was one (1) of only two (2) who were of Italian Heritage.
At Harvard, Frank majored in philosophy, and was quickly recognized as a unique scholar. He was elected to and received acceptance by the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard. He graduated Summa cum Laude, second in his class. Frank enlisted in the U. S. Army; and agreed to serve, as soon as possible after completion of college. He attended school during summer of 1942; completed his Honor’s Thesis as well as Honor’s interviews, and entered the Army, in late 1942 or very early 1943. He was conferred his degree while he was serving in the military. While in the service Frank was selected to special intelligence where he was trained in several more languages, including Russian, German and French, in which he became fluent. As an intelligence interpreter, he interviewed and interrogated numerous prisoners and obtained much sensitive and secret information integral for America’s success in many decisive battles. He personally fought in many brutal battles, including the infamous Battle of the Bulge.
Frank was honorably discharged from the United States Army in April, 1946, having been bestowed several distinguished metals. The day following his return home, he applied for, and was promptly granted, admission to theHarvard Law School based solely upon his undergraduate academic record and a brief interview. He began classes the following June. As a student at the Harvard Law School, Frank proved to be a notable scholar, distinguished for his academic achievements. Prior to graduation, he sat for the written portion of the Massachusetts bar exam. His grade was so high that he was excused from the oral portion of the test.
Having graduated Harvard Law School in October, 1948, Frank began working a Boston law firm trying civil cases and preparing appellate briefs. By 1950, he returned to Somerville and eventually opened his own firm in Union Square, where he practiced in a variety of fields, including civil litigation, conveyance, appellate work, probate, criminal trails, and corporate formation. In 1956 Frank acquired his current location on Winter Hill, in Somerville, where his practice is now run by his two sons, Frank N. Dardeno, Jr. and Ronald A. Dardeno. A third generation has now joined the practice with Frank’s granddaughter Kara L. Dardeno’s admission to the Massachusetts bar.
Throughout his legal career, Frank was recognized as a brilliant and dynamic legal scholar, having appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on First Amendment Rights issues, and representing clients before the infamous McCarthy Hearings. His clients included large corporations and businesses, real estate developers and trusts, and prominent political figures. Frank passed away on November 8, 2009.