Commerce Adds Mapfre; Church Anniversary  
Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Commerce Insurance Co.’s headquarters building on Main Street in Webster has been rebranded, reflecting its status as a Mapfre USA Corp.

Signage, with Mapfre’s corporate insignia and name in red, a straight vertical line and USA in black, is the new introduction to what is certainly Webster’s largest corporation, judging from postings on Mapfre’s website.

It’s among some of the exciting things happening with the business established by Arthur Remillard Jr., now retired. Mapfre’s advantage is a logical projection, locking the former Commerce group into Mapfre’s financial strength and stability, an entry summarizes.

Mapfre, a Spanish insurer established May 1, 1859, and based in Madrid, is rated among the world’s leading insurers, and its American subsidiaries, Commerce and Citation, have gained a new rating from Standard and Poor’s, from A to A+, again according to its Web offerings.

There are a few more facts to report. Mapfre of Webster’s “key executives” list starts with a familiar name: Gerald Fels. When he left the corporate world last year to serve as acting president of Nichols College, the press release said Mr. Fels would remain a director with Commerce-Mapfre. Now that he has served the Dudley Hill College from the president’s chair, his thoughts are reportedly of retirement.

Mapfre now says he is the chief executive officer and a director. Top management also includes Randall V. Becker, chief financial officer; Jaime Tamayo, president; and Daniel P. Olohan and David H. Cochrane, senior vice presidents.

I can only say that I’ve met Mr. Tamayo. Mr. Becker made the introduction when we met in Mary Conrad’s East Main Street Café a few weeks ago. First impressions say he’s a fine young person.

The Rev. Michael J. Roy, longtime pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Webster who was recently reassigned to the Church of St. Roch in Oxford, starts his new pastorate with a “significant milestone,” the 150th anniversary of the Oxford congregation.

The founding was actually April 28, 1886, and it included a couple of mission churches, St. Ann’s in North Oxford and St. Joseph’s in Auburn, according to a church history by parishioner Jean O’Reilly, known for her service with Oxford historical groups. Rev. Charles Boylan, the first pastor, moved into the rectory on May 23 the same year, to draw another line from the O’Reilly effort.

Worcester Diocesan Bishop Robert J. McManus will confirm a class of young adults on Oct. 14 at a 4 p.m. Mass. The significance here is that the class was prepared by Msgr. Louis P. Piermarini, the late pastor, who served the church so long as he could physically endure.

This might have been planned as a 150th anniversary confirmation, but its tie to the late Msgr. Piermarini gives it an enduring poignancy.

Extend a congratulatory handshake to William Steglitz the next time you see the East Thompson, Conn., resident and professor of mathematics at Nichols College in Dudley.

Bill started his 50th year teaching in a college environment with the start of classes at Nichols last week. His age and tenure might not add up, but comprehensive programs were his collegiate advantage. He’s known to the legions that enjoy coffee in area snack shops. For my take, he’s a good fellow.

Staying with coffee gatherings, we participate in a coffee klatch at the Honey Dew shop in Webster most Saturday evenings.

At least 10 people, and as many as 25, turn out. Coffee and a sinker is the general order, but birthdays are celebrated from time to time, meaning a small cake is brought in, usually by Matt Morway. Everybody gets a taste, and besides, owner Theresa Frias seems to encourage the fun, meaning she’s a gracious host.

There was one a few weeks ago that spoke to the success of anti-smoking programs. Candles were spread across the top of a square cake. They weren’t blown out because no one present had a cigarette lighter or any matches to light them with in the first place.

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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