LINCOLN- Senator James "Jimmy" Costello was born in Providence on February 25, 1917, the son of Thomas C. Costello and Luiga (Ruggeiro) Costello.
James went to school in Providence and North Providence and later took courses in state government administration and business administration at Brown University to help prepare for twin careers in public life and business. On the business side, he also studied at The Chrysler Corporation Master Technician School and the Ford Institute in New York, where he earned the distinction of Master Technician.
James was elected to the Lincoln Council in 1955 and served until 1963, helping the town to cope with its rapid development and industrial growth. At a special election in Lincoln on March 12, 1963, he was elected to the RI Senate, where he distinguished himself for the next 18 years until retiring in 1981.
While in the Senate James served on a number of committees most notably as the chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Highway Safety. His position on that committee and his contributions to its many responsibilities made James one of Rhode Island's leading and most influential authorities on highway safety. His leadership of the joint committee led to enactment of important highway safety legislation affecting all RI motorists, pedestrians and the public generally.
He was chairman of the Highway Safety Committee for 12 years, and for nine of those years also served as chairman of the State Traffic Commission which has authority in setting speed limits and highway regulations throughout the state. While in the State Senate James also served on the Finance Committee, the Corporations Committee and the Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.
While finding time for all those public activities, he was also owner and president of Warwick Ford on Post Road in Warwick where he was president for 20 years from 1958 to 1978. He was also the president-treasurer of Jaelco Realty. He was co-founder, secretary and treasurer of the New England Sports Association as well as Atlantic Auto Racing, and is a past vice president and member of the Board of Directors or the Rhode Island Dealers Association.
He also became involved in a wide range of community activities. He was a member and Past President of the Cumberland-Lincoln Fraternal Order of Police, a charter member of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society and the Warwick Airport Lions Club and a member of the Lincoln civil defense organization. He was a member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the Pawtucket and Central Falls Y.M.C.A. and a member of the Fourth degree Knights of Columbus.
James was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Helen (Arute) Costello. He is survived by two daughters Mary Ann Faria and her husband Mario J. Faria of Lincoln and Deborah E. Scandariato and her husband Philip Scandariato of Lincoln, three grandchildren James Faria of Atlanta GA, Mariana Ormonde of Barrington and Michael Faria of Lincoln, a great granddaughter Gabriella Ormonde, his sister Lucy Richter of N. Providence and his brother Michael Costello of Lincoln.
He was the brother of the late Charles Castello, Anthonio Castello, Sue Phillips, Frances Mattia, Carmela Starzynski, Anne Knowles Maksad and Joan Monte.
His funeral will be held on Saturday at 8:30 am from the Lincoln Funeral Home, 1501 Lonsdale Ave., Lincoln with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am at St. Jude Church, Front St., Lincoln. Graveside burial will be at St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket. Calling hours are Friday from 4-8. In lieu of flowers, donations to Fruithill Adult Day Care for the Elderly, 399 Fruithill Ave, N. Providence, RI would be appreciated.
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