January 7, 2019

Duddie Massad remembered as businessman, philanthropist

Photo | Courtesy
David "Duddie" Massad poses with members of the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester after his Commerce Bank made a donation to the nonprofit.

David "Duddie" Massad, the owner of Worcester car dealerships and later Commerce Bank, died Dec. 28 at age 90.

"He was a business giant and humanitarian who leaves a footprint on the City of Worcester that will be hard to match," said Eric Dickson, UMass Memorial Health Care president and CEO.

Massad, of Westborough, began his business career by operating the former Webster Square Cinema and later ran two car dealerships, Duddie Ford in Westborough and Diamond Chevrolet in Worcester, now in Auburn.

Massad bought Worcester's Commerce Bank in 1993 and helped grow it in subsequent years until it was bought in 2017 by Berkshire Bank.

At the time Massad bought Commerce, it was a fraction of the size it would become. It was losing money before Massad bought it and was estimated to be worth only $6 million to $7 million at the time. Its growth in the following years would include buying Boston-based Mercantile Capital and its subsidiary, Mercantile Bank & Trust, for $26.5 million in 2012.

Boston-based Berkshire Bank bought Commerce in 2017 for $230 million. At the time, Commerce had $1.8 billion in assets. As part of that purchase, Berkshire said it would keep the Commerce name on the Central Massachusetts branches.

"Duddie Massad was a business and marketing giant and an integral part of the Central Massachusetts community," Berkshire Bank Senior Vice President Elizabeth Mach said. "As the former chairman of Commerce Bank, he played a pivotal role in creating a strong, community focused banking institution. His legacy of unwavering and enthusiastic community support will live on."

Even after the sale of Commerce to Berkshire, Massad remained involved in the Worcester economy, largely through his real estate holdings, which included the land where his former auto dealerships were and 225 Park Avenue in Worcester, right by Elm Park.

Massad's philanthropy included a 2005 donation of $12.5 million for a new UMass Memorial Medical Center facility at its University Campus in Worcester. The hospital named its emergency room and trauma center in his name.

"Duddie Massad was a great man whose legacy will live on," Dickson said. "His tremendous philanthropic support of our Medical Center not only benefited UMass Memorial, but I believe it impacted the cause of emergency and trauma care in Central Massachusetts."

Massad's wife, Bette Massad, died in 2014 at age 88.

He is survived by his three children, Pamela Massad of Westborough; Christine Mandara and her husband, David, of Northborough; and David Massad II and his wife, Lisa, of Shrewsbury; his brother, Philip Massad and his wife, Geraldine; as well as seven grandchildren.

"He knew and understood the importance of jobs and a thriving business community," said Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Additionally, his legacy of philanthropic giving will be remembered through the Duddie Massad Emergency Department at the UMass Memorial Campus and the new turf athletic field at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium as well as the countless donations he made quietly to youth related organizations throughout Central Massachusetts."


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