The White Plains Examiner

DelBello Remembered as a Visionary

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Former Westchester County Executive Alfred DelBello died last Friday at the age of 80.
Former Westchester County Executive Alfred DelBello died last Friday at the age of 80.

Alfred B. DelBello, a former New York lieutenant governor, Westchester county executive and mayor of Yonkers, died on May 15. He was 80 years old.

Reports indicate the announcement was made by his wife, Dee DelBello, CEO and publisher of Westfair Business Publications. She said her husband had been suffering from numerous physical ailments.

DelBello had an expansive career in the public and private sectors serving Westchester and greater New York as a visionary, lawyer and government leader.

Democrats on the Board of Legislators released a statement Monday that said Delbello’s life was the “perfect Westchester story.”

“Born and raised in Yonkers, DelBello was a symbol of what can be achieved through discipline and hard work. … He was a role model to many of us and tremendous supporter of various causes throughout the region,” the statement read.

County Executive Robert Astorino ordered all flags at county office buildings to be flown at half-mast.

“It was with great sadness that I learned of Al’s passing, Astorino said. “We were from different parties but we were good friends and I always appreciated his advice and counsel. Perhaps the greatest advice he shared with me, and something I’ve always adhered to is, always make sure you get home and spend quality time with your family.”

DelBello, was born on Nov. 3, 1934 and graduated from Manhattan College and Fordham Law School.

He was elected mayor of Yonkers in 1970 and then was elected county executive in 1973. The first Democrat to be elected to the post, he held the office for two terms.

DelBello is credited with numerous creative projects during his time as county executive including development of a unified bus service in the county, which became the Bee-line System, and construction of the garbage-to-energy facility in Peekskill. He played a major role in bringing Muscoot Farm in Somers into the Westchester County Parks system.

In 1982, DelBello ran for lieutenant governor as a running mate of then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Although Mario Cuomo defeated Koch in the Democratic primary, DelBello went on and capture the race for lieutenant governor. However, he resigned the post in 1985 to go into private practice. He made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the New York State Senate in 1994.

“This state is in a better place today because of his service,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Cuomo acknowledged DelBello’s “enduring commitment to bettering the lives of others.”

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a fellow Democrat from Yonkers and the state Senate’s minority leader, followed DelBello’s career.

“Al DelBello helped shape a better Westchester as a result of his vision, initiative, and collaboration,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Whether creating Westchester Medical Center from ‘Grasslands’ or connecting the county through a better public transportation system, Al was always asking ‘what if’ and transforming answers into action. His legacy of public service, even after leaving elected office, will continue to be felt and appreciated throughout New York State.”

He was a co-founder and partner in the law firm of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr, LLP in White Plains.

DelBello was a member of the firm’s executive committee and a member of the Land Use and Zoning Government Relations practice groups. Over the course of his career, DelBello worked on some of the highest profile and most sophisticated real estate and economic development projects, public/private partnerships and urban renewal developments in the Hudson Valley.

DelBello was also chairman emeritus of the Westchester County Association (WCA).

William Mooney, Jr., CEO of the organization, said in a statement on Monday that DelBello was one of Westchester’s greatest visionaries and a mentor to Mooney. He credited DelBello for his leadership on WCA projects including healthcare reform, economic development, government reform and young professionals.

“Al saw what was possible and masterfully moved sometimes implacable forces in order to improve the quality of life for all those living and working here,” Mooney said. “He understood human nature and skillfully brought people along, not an easy task in what was often a contentious and boisterous political arena.”

Referring to DelBello as an “omnipresent figure in the county,” Geoff Thompson, part of the senior management team at the marketing firm of Thompson & Bender, wrote that DelBello had encyclopedic knowledge of all things Westchester and that Al with his wife, Dee, became Westchester’s “Jack and Jackie.”

“Al was a genuine renaissance man,” Thompson said.

DelBello is survived by his wife, a son, Damon DelBello, and three grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private. A public memorial is planned for May 28 at Tappan Hill in Tarrytown.


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