The Lyceum of Galveston was once again pleased to host the Bertolino Family Reunion on Saturday, August 11, 2018. The Bertolino Family has been long established on Galveston Island. There is an historical marker for Carmelo “Charles” Bertolino on 10th Street and Seawall.
(September 4, 1887 – March 8, 1960) Born in Galveston in 1887, Carmelo Bertolino was the son of Salvatore Bertolino (d. 1891) and Rosalia Trapani Bertolino (d. 1942), who immigrated to Texas from Palermo, Italy in the early 1880s. Salvatore Bertolino drowned in Galveston Bay when Carmelo was three years old.
Carmelo married Mabel Cousins (1894-1937) in 1911 and became the head of a large family. He worked as a fisherman and as a baker at Graugnard’s Bakery.
He was an athletic man who swam in the Gulf every day until he was past 70 years of age. A volunteer lifesaver, he is credited with saving more than 500 people from drowning during his lifetime.
The tragedy of that type of death had touched his own family; in addition to his father, he lost a brother and a son to accidental drownings in Galveston waters.
Carmelo Bertolino was in Italy during the disastrous 1900 storm, but during the 1915 hurricane he was able to save many lives. His heroic efforts later were noted in official citations from the Texas Legislature and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A monument in his honor was erected on 10th Street and Seawall Blvd. shortly after his death, and the Galveston City Council named 10th Street at its intersection with the seawall “Bertolino’s View.”