Dorchester has lost a great old friend.
Stavros (Steve) Cosmopulos, a Dorchester Original and the founder and creator of the concept of O.F.D., passed away last Friday at his son’s home in Seekonk. A resident of Norwell, He was 87 years old.
Beginning in 1950, Stavros had a long and storied career in advertising. He worked at agencies in Detroit, New York, Boston and Palm Beach, and in 1968 he joined with three partners to form the soon-to-be mega-agency Hill, Holliday, Connors & Cosmopulos. Steve stayed there a short time, and later the agency name was truncated to Hill Holliday. He moved on to creative posts elsewhere, including at Arnold Advertising, and the founding of the Cosmopulos, Crowley and Daly agency. He stayed close with his longtime friend Jack Connors, and in semi-retirement Steve had an office next to Connors’s in the John Hancock tower.
When we first had the idea to start-up a community newspaper in Dorchester in the spring of 1983, I turned to Steve for advice. He was excited about the possibilities, and helped design layouts and a logo for our newspaper. Cosmo was always ready and willing to lend a mentoring hand to younger people with dreams of their own, and my family was among the many who benefited from his wise counsel. He always was working on a new idea, a new concept, and his enthusiasm was infectious.
Steve called me one day and told me he wanted to form a loose organization he called “Originally From Dorchester.” He was proud of his Dot roots, and he wanted to show it. He had noticed that all too many people who had grown up as kids here on Dot’s streets and now lived elsewhere were a slow to acknowledge where they came from, They grew up in Dot, he said, but now they had landed somewhere else “with revised resumes.” In June 1985, he unveiled the formation of O.F.D. in the pages of the Reporter, explaining in part:
“I’ve invented (if that’s the right word) an organization that I think might be a put-down of that kind of bologna, and an opportunity to declare to the world that we are proud to be from Dorchester (including the lucky ones that are still there – S.F.D.)”
Steve remembered living on Brent Street, playing at Wainwright Park, and going to elementary grades at the Elbridge Smith School on Dot Ave, now the site of the Henderson Inclusion School: “On a beautiful spring day, I remember looking up and seeing a dirigible. Does anyone remember if that was the Zeppelin? It was about 1936-37… The top of the subway tunnel between Shawmut and Ashmont was like a street for kids only, with no cars. When they tarred the top kids always chewed the soft tar because “kid mythology” said that it kept your teeth clean. It’s a wonder we didn’t die.”
Over the years, we have published scores of stories about O.F.D.ers – and S.F.D.ers – in the Dorchester Reporter, and Steve had a lifelong subscription to our paper. We always mailed it to him c/o another one of his light-hearted creations, “Friends of the Forest.”
Steve was laid to rest yesterday, his life’s work done.
Stavros Cosmopulos, O.F.D., a true Dorchester Original.