Corona remembers CB 4 leader

Pallbearers take the coffin of Community Board 4 District Manager Richard Italiano into the hearse following his Monday funeral mass at St. Leo's in Corona. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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More than 140 people attended the funeral Monday of Richard Italiano, the district manager and late chairman of Community Board 4, who friends and officials described as a gentle man dedicated to his community.

“He cared, he helped and he worked diligently and tirelessly to make things better,” said Richard Lando, Italiano’s best friend and brother-in-law, in his eulogy.

Dan Andrews, spokesman for Borough President Helen Marshall, said Italiano, who was 59, died in the early morning hours last Thursday at Elmhurst Hospital Center after he collapsed at his desk.

His wife, Carol, said he died of a heart attack.

In addition to his wife, Italiano is survived by his mother Mary, his children Brian and Christina and his grandchildren.

“They will all miss him, but I know they and I will keep a piece of him together in our hearts,” Lando said.

Italiano’s funeral was held at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church in Corona. Mourners included family as well as Marshall, City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and his fellow district leaders Giovanna Reid of CB 3 and Gary Giordano of CB 5.

“Really, you represent all of Corona,” the Rev. William Hoppe told the mourners.

Italiano was born in Queens and participated in various community groups, such as the Queens Zoning Task Force, the Queens Traffic Safety Board and many hospital advisory boards, Marshall said in a statement.

Before entering public service, Richard Italiano worked in a tile store founded by his grandfather with his father Leo, Lando said. Italiano also coached baseball and was the director of the teen center at St. Leo’s School.

“Richard always struck me as a quiet man, a man of peace who would calm things down,” Hoppe said.

He was the current district manager of CB 4 and chaired the board from 1993-2005, Marshall said.

“There is a great void in the heart of the community left by Mr. Italiano’s passing,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) in a statement. “He was a dedicated public servant who worked in the community diligently and tirelessly. This was truly his life work.”

Italiano was present at CB 4’s last meeting earlier in the month.

The borough president described Italiano as “a kind and gentle man” and a “dedicated public servant.”

“He led with grace, quiet effectiveness and a deep desire to make things better for us all,” Marshall said. “Communities like Elmhurst, Corona and, indeed, our entire borough and city were made better because of him.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 1:35 am, January 26, 2012
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