Colantonio Inc. carpenter Bob Wiggins is a favorite among residents of the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly’s Golda Meir House, which is undergoing an extensive renovation. This article is excerpted from Around Golda’s House, November 2017, the facility’s monthly newsletter.
“This is a new feature in our newsletter. Each month we will interview a different member of the [Colantonio] construction crew. We see these men and women every day and we thought it might be nice to get to know them a little better.
Our first interview features Bob Wiggins. Everyone knows Bob, who also goes by the nicknames: Wiggy, Bob the Builder and Wiggero! Bob is known for his outgoing and friendly style, he always says hello and has learned almost every residents’ name by now. What is truly remarkable is that he never stops working, even when giving a resident his attention. It’s a real skill to be able to carry on a conversation while still working. One day, Bob noticed that the canopy in the back of the building was torn and about to fall off. During his lunch hour, he fixed it….and never even told us about it!
Bob was born in Hyde Park but has lived in many places in the area, including Bridgewater, Raynham, Taunton, and Brockton.
When this interviewer asked how he came to be a carpenter, he described himself as someone who always was doing something with his hands, fixing and making things. He worked at Lambert’s Market in Dorchester after he graduated from high school, where he did a little bit of everything, including driving to pick up produce, fixing anything that was broken, and working in the deli. A friend of his saw how skilled his carpentry was and suggested he join the union, he took the test and passed. That was 17 years ago and he loves his work with Colantonio. He says that they are great people and he loves working with them.
Bob leaves very early in the morning to get to his work here, after a one hour commute. He admits to taking a little snooze in his car when he arrives in Auburndale before coming into Golda. Though he says it is sometimes hard to work in an “occupied” building, getting to interact with residents makes up for it and that it is a pleasure to work here. Another thing he likes about the job at Golda is that his work is varied and he doesn’t get bored.
Bob likes to be busy. He has his favorite television shows (Wheel of Fortune and Law and Order and the news on Channel 5). When asked what he likes to do, the list is long, including, horseshoes, darts, pool, bocce, “foosball” and poker. In the winter, he carves reindeer from trees he cuts down. He showed me a picture of many of these adorable creatures, all lined up in a field. The work that goes into these is truly impressive. Bob also loves to be outdoors shell fishing and attending flea markets where he collects horseshoes. When he can, he does container gardening, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. His favorite dessert? Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Bob had a wonderful relationship with his grandmother and though she died many years ago, he thinks about her every day. He confided that he wished she had had as wonderful a place as Golda Meir House in which to live. It was great fun to get to know Bob a little better. He is an interesting and very caring person.”