TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Friends and associates of Al DelBello said the former Westchester county executive treated everyone with respect, inspiring them to become better people.
They spoke at Tappan Hill Mansion Thursday during a memorial service for DelBello, 80, of Lewisboro who died on May 15.
"Al encouraged my involvement,'' said Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner. "He spoke at a rally I organized for bike paths. After he won his election as county executive, he invited me to be part of his honor guard at his first inauguration. And, he appointed me to his Bicycle Task Force. . . .He was one of the first politicians to treat me nicely -- and when I was thinking about it yesterday -- probably the last."
"If Al DelBello hadn't treated me with respect and dignity,'' Feiner added, "I might have gone into another profession, which might have made a lot of people happy."
When Rob Astorino first ran for county executive in 2009, he recalled, "Al came up to me and said, 'You know what? I think you can win this race.' . . . And after I won, the first person to call me was Al, and he said, 'Let's get together.'"
Former White Plains City Councilwoman Joyce Gordon said, "His mission in life, and it was a mission, was to help and improve the lives of others."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said, "I know I am a better public official, and certainly a better person, because I had the benefit of the friendship of this very, very great man."
J. Edward Meyer III, a former New York state assemblyman and Connecticut state senator, called DelBello "a results-oriented public official." So when DelBello was lieutenant governor during former Gov. Mario Cuomo's first term, "he called me one day from Albany and said, 'Ed, I can't get anything done. The governor hardly speaks to me."
"That decision to leave (public service) and get things done (in the private sector) was a decision of remarkable courage,'' Meyer said.
DelBello, who began his political career in the 1960s as a Yonkers city councilman and its youngest mayor, returned to law practice in 1985 as founding partner of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr..
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was not at Thursday's memorial service, released a statement that said: "The state is a better place today because of Al DelBello's service."
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