George R. Ditomassi, senior executive who spent four decades with Milton Bradley and Hasbro, dies at 86
LONGMEADOW – George R. Ditomassi, former chairman of Milton Bradley Co. and COO at Hasbro, passed away on May 31. He was 86 years old.
The Holyoke native spent four decades at Milton Bradley before and after Hasbro bought the company in 1984. The East Longmeadow plant still makes toys and games, which are now owned by European conglomerate Cartamundi.
Ditomassi’s tenure at Hasbro, his rivalry with fellow executive Al Verrecchia, and Hasbro’s competition with Mattel were all recounted in the 1998 book. “Toy Wars” by journalist G. Wayne Miller.
As the head of Hasbro’s international division, Ditomassi brought board games like Candyland, Life and Chutes and Ladders to the world. He was named to the Toy Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2004.
He graduated from what would become Holyoke Community College in 1954 and the University of Massachusetts in 1957 and served in the United States Army as a second lieutenant. He graduated from Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program in 1980.
Ditomassi remained active at UMass, as a member of the chancellor’s executive committee and later as a director of the UMass Foundation.
Henry Thomas III, former chairman of the UMass board of directors, remembers Ditomassi as a constant presence at UMass basketball and hockey games.
Thomas, president and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield, also remembered Ditomassi’s generosity when it came time to collect Christmas gifts for needy families each year.
Ditomassi joined Milton Bradley as a production intern in 1960. In 1970 he became vice president of Milton Bradley and general manager of the Whiting division. In 1982 he was elected to the company’s board of directors and in 1985 he was promoted to president. In 1990, he was named president of Milton Bradley and CEO of games and international for Hasbro.
He was then CEO of Enesco, Shop at Home Co. and Summit America Television.
He has served as President of the Western Massachusetts Children’s Miracle Network, National President of the Child Welfare League of America, and President of Ronald McDonald House Corporate Fundraising in Springfield. Ditomassi has also served as a Director of Business Friends of the Arts, Board Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Director of Springfield College, Founder of Community United Way, Director of Baystate Medical Center, President of Westmass Area Development Corp. and appointed member of the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Board.