Richard Italiano, the district manager and former chairman of Community Board 4, died last Wednesday, Jan. 18. He was 59.
Italiano collapsed while working at his desk, according to CB 4’s office and Dan Andrews, a spokesman for the Borough President’s office. He had recently undergone heart surgery, Andrews said. He was transported to Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Italiano was born and raised in Corona and attended Corona’s St. Leo School and Elmhurst’s Newtown High School.
He first joined the board as part of its Youth Services Committee in 1984. From 1995 to 2004, he served as the board’s chairman, and became district manager in 2005.
Italiano is survived by his mother, Mary Italiano, his wife of 38 years — Carol — and their two children, Brian Italiano and Cristina Stellmann, as well as three grandchildren — Brianna, Anthony Richard and Michael Richard.
Borough President Helen Marshall described Italiano in a statement as, “a kind and gentle man.”
“He led with grace, quiet effectiveness and a deep desire to make things better for us all,” Marshall said. “A native of Queens, he never forgot his roots.”
“Our community has lost a great friend, champion and leader,” state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) said in a statement.
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) noted that Italiano “will be fondly remembered by those of us who had the great pleasure of knowing him.”
Italiano was present at a community board meeting a week before his passing, and had attended a cabinet meeting the day he collapsed, according to CB 4’s office.
In addition to serving on the board, Italiano was a member of several community organizations, including the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy, the New York Hospital Queens Community Advisory Council and the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of Queens County. He also served on the board of directors for Italian Charities of America.
A wake was held for Italiano last weekend at Guida Funeral Home in Corona. A funeral Mass took place at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, also in Corona, on Monday. He was buried at Mt. St. Mary’s Cemetery in Flushing.