Captain Jack Peterson and New Bedford’s Portuguese Feast Parade
The return this weekend of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament after a two-year hiatus reminds me of my good friend, the late radio legend Joel Polonsky, better known around these parts as "Captain" Jack Peterson.
Captain Jack wasn't Portuguese, nor did he hail from New Bedford, but Jack loved a good parade as much as he loved his adopted hometown – and we loved him right back.
Jack Peterson was the radio guy's radio guy. He launched his radio career at WLLH in Lowell as a disc jockey before moving to New Bedford in 1980, where he signed on as the morning man at WNBH. That's where I met Jack. I was there for his first day on the job.
Jack met his longtime love, Lynne, while working in Lowell. She eventually followed him to New Bedford, the pair were married, and Lynne became "First Mate" Lynne on the Captain's morning radio show.
Jack joined WBSM's news department in 1998, where he stayed until his death in July 2014 from pancreatic cancer at age 70.
Jack Peterson, Phil Paleologos, and I came from a different era of radio. Before MTV, satellite, Spotify, and Apple Music, radio was king, and local DJs ruled the kingdom. Jack was the best.
Jack loved a good parade and appeared in many of them over the years. His fans loved to cheer and call out to him as he passed along the parade route, often in a convertible driven by his good pal Bobby Dias.
Days after his passing eight years ago, many of his New Bedford co-workers over the years joined First Mate Lynne to march in the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Parade in honor of Captain Jack Peterson. I was proud to walk by Lynne's side in that parade.
Jack Peterson was adored by the people of New Bedford and the love and devotion were on full display that rainy August Sunday.