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CB 9 votes to honor community leader

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Members of Community Board 9 are attempting to rename 96th Street in Woodhaven for longtime civic activist, businessman and benefactor Frank D'Orazi, who died suddenly Jan. 7.

The board voted unanimously to honor D'Orazi, co-owner of the catering hall and restaurant Le Cordon Bleu, and are now looking to the City Council and its parks committee to approve their recommendation.

"It'll take a little time, but I'm sure we'll get there," said Community Board 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey, a friend of D'Orazi's for more than two decades. "We have already sent out letters to Councilmen Dennis Gallagher and Joe Addabbo."

D'Orazi, who was in his mid-70s, was active in several community-based organizations, including the local Kiwanis chapter, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, Notre Dame parish in New Hyde Park and Community Board 9. He served on the board from 1985 to 1991.

As owner of a catering hall and restaurant, D'Orazi was always willing to offer his help for those in need of facilities, food or just a place to hold a meeting, Carey said.

"He was a very generous, very kind, very giving individual but not a push-over," she said. "I know he was very particular about how things were done and he wanted things done properly - that is what made him a successful businessman."

D'Orazi, a former U.S. Army corporal from 1944-1946, graduated from St. John's University with a degree in history in 1950. His son, Francis, who could not be reached for comment, is now involved in running his father's business, Carey said.

Maria Thomson, executive director of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, was also friendly with D'Orazi for more than two decades and said he was integral to the formation of the group.

"He really helped the organization strive to be a real strong force in the community," Thomson said. "He will be missed, he was such a strong supporter of Woodhaven and was so committed to this community."

D'Orazi, the founder of Woodhaven Business Improvement District and former president of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, also donated funds to St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant and to Kamp Kiwanis, a summer facility for children funded by the civic organization's various chapters.

Carey said D'Orazi paid for children each year to attend the camp and had helped rebuild parts of the facility, including its kitchen, through donations.

"He was a very wonderful man," Carey said.

D'Orazi is survived by his wife, Alice, six children, 15 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 156

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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