OBITUARY: Former County Executive Alfred B. DelBello

John Jordan | June 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.06.12 PMAlfred B. DelBello, a native of Yonkers, who led a successful career in the public sector as Lt. Governor of New York State, County Executive of Westchester County, Mayor of Yonkers, as well as in the private sector as a prominent and powerful real estate attorney in a Westchester County-based law firm, passed away on Friday, May 15 at the age of 80.

A published report in the Westchester County Business Journal, managed by Mr. DelBello’s wife Dee, stated that the popular Democratic politician succumbed to a neuropathic disease at his home in Waccabuc, NY.

DelBello was born on Nov. 3, 1934 in Yonkers. He graduated from the Halsted School and from Manhattan College in 1956 with majors in economics and political science. He received his law degree from Fordham University Law School and after a brief tour with the National Guard entered private law practice.

His political career started with his election as councilman in Yonkers in the late 1960s and was elected Mayor of Yonkers in 1970. He was elected Westchester County’s fifth County Executive, and the first Democrat in that office in 1973. He was re-elected in 1977 and 1981.

He left county government after being elected Lieutenant Governor of New York State in 1982. Three years later he resigned and left public service to become president of a new division of Signal Companies Inc. He later took on the role of partner in the White Plains law firm of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP.

Among his numerous accomplishments during his political career included reform of corruption and inefficient government management practices in the City of Yonkers, improvements to the Westchester County Medical Center, county’s transportation system, and the introduction of garbage to energy initiatives in Westchester County that resulted in the development and operation of a garbage to energy plant in Peekskill. He created the first Office for the Disabled and the first Office for Women in the state. The county’s only boat launching ramp on Long Island Sound was built at Glen Island Park and bicycle paths were constructed along the Bronx River Parkway during his administration. DelBello ran a fiscally conservative county government to deal with the economic recession that existed at the time he was in office.

As a partner in the law firm of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr LLP, he represented some of the county’s major development projects.

DelBello and his wife Dee also were involved in many philanthropic initiatives and were supporters of the arts. Last June, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel presented a Congressional Record to Al and Dee DelBello at the Hudson River Museum Gala, where the pair was recognized for their significant contributions to the Yonkers-based museum.

He served as chairman of the Westchester County Association and also as chairman of the Westchester County Health Care Corp., which operated the Westchester Medical Center.

The tributes to DelBello mirrored his political views; they crossed party lines.

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino released a statement on DelBello’s passing:  “It was with great sadness that I learned today of Al’s passing. 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.  The job is hectic but always make time for your family. And today, the thoughts and prayers of my family go out to the DelBello family.”

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, “When New Yorkers chose Al DelBello to represent them as the Mayor of Yonkers, as Westchester County Executive and as the state’s Lieutenant Governor, he returned their trust with dedication to public service that helped improve their lives. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have enjoyed his friendship and benefitted from his guidance. He always offered wise counsel and advice. Al will be missed.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano stated, “Today we lost a titan in New York politics. As Mayor of Yonkers, Lieutenant Governor, County Executive and as a successful attorney, Al Del Bello was driven by a passion to continually fight for the people he so honorably represented. His intellect, veracity and sheer determination will be missed by so many. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Dee and the rest of his family — may he rest in peace.”

He is survived by his wife, Dee, owner and publisher of Westfair Communications Inc.; a son, Damon, who is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service for friends and colleagues was held on Thursday, May 28, at Tappan Hill Mansion, 81 Highland Ave., Tarrytown where a host of political, business leaders, friends and family memorialized DelBello.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be sent to: Northern Westchester Hospital, 40 E. Main St., Mount Kisco, NY 10549; Attention: Office of the President.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth