Oars and flowers

Desi Smith/Staff PhotoVincie Curcuru is overcome with emotion during the Annual Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial Service that was held Saturday afternoon on Stacey Boulevard. Vincie lost, her brother John Orlando, on board the Patriot in January 2009.

There were tears — there always are — as the flowers were thrown on the water, recognizing Gloucester’s many losses to the sea.

There were Carol Figurido, Vincie Curcurum  and Josie Russo, Gloucester women who lost loved ones to the ocean deep. They were just three among the many who attended Gloucester’s annual Fishermen’s Memorial Service held Saturday evening at the Fishermen’s Memorial on Stacy Memorial.

Figurido spoke of her grandfather — and the 5,383 other Gloucestermen whose names grace the Fishermen’s Memorial Cenotaph — at the ceremony. She came to know Thomas Isaac Moulton through relatives and family history. A ship’s cook, Moulton, 48, and five other Gloucestermen went down with the fishing vessel Mary E. O’Hara in 1941, before Figurido was born.

Vincie Curcuru lost her brother, John Orlando, 59, when the fishing vessel Patriot went down on Jan 3, 2009. He was crewing for his son-in-law.

Josie Russo’s sons Salvatore Moses and John Matteo, were among those who placed memorial wreaths around the Man at Wheel during the service. When the Patriot went down, she lost her father, Orlando, and her husband of four years, Matteo, 36. She was pregnant with John Matteo, named for his father, at the time. 

Saturday’s ceremony began with a procession that started in front of the Lester S. Wass American Legion post at Washington and Middle streets. The marchers carried flowers to be tossed into the sea and oars bearing the names of Gloucester fishing vessels past and present to the memorial.

At the Man at the Wheel statue, the Rev. James Achadinha — pastor of the Catholic Community of Gloucester and Rockport, which includes the parishes of Holy Family and Our Lady of Good Voyage — led prayers.

Barry Pett, who heads The Gloucester Fund, served as master of ceremonies for the service, while Gloucester High School Docksiders’ soloist Alexandra Grace sang accompanied by Josh Cominelli on guitar.

The event was coordinated by a committee drawn from several groups within Gloucester’s fishing community.