|Thomas Robert Gallo||16 AUG 1937 -- JUL 1978|
|Birth||28 JUL 1960|
|Death||21 JAN 2002|
He was 42.
“We are all in mourning,” Jeanette Provenzano, a longtime fellow Democrat and friend of Gallo, said through tears last night. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, whose mother was Gallo’s personal secretary, declined comment last night.
Gallo was found by a friend who had stopped by Gallo’s home on Jervis Street between 6 and 7 p.m., according to Kingston police Chief Gerald Keller. The death appeared to be from natural causes. Keller did not know if it had been a heart attack. “We are not looking at any foul play,” the police chief said.
The mayor lived alone just around the corner from his mother’s house on Andrew Street. A Christmas tree of bright white lights glowed in the front lawn of Gallo’s modest home. Alderman-at-Large Jim Sottile, Gallo’s second in command, was with the family and had already been sworn in as acting mayor, one source said.
The city will call in the county medical examiner, Keller said. An autopsy is often done in such cases. Several friends pointed out that Gallo’s father died at 46.
It is unclear when Gallo was last seen alive. City offices were closed yesterday. One source said that when he was found he was still wearing the clothes he had worn when he went out the night before.
Gallo’s body was removed about 8:30 p.m. while a handful of shocked neighbors and friends stood on the street corner.
“I feel terrible. He was a good mayor,” said Carol DeCicco, who lived on Andrew Street, a stone’s throw from Gallo’s home.
Gallo, the son of a former mayor, first won the job in 1993, assuming a two-year term. He went on to demolish his competition two years later, taking 85 percent of the votes.
He cleaned the streets, improved trash pick-up and paved practically everything in sight. He pushed the city onto the regional radarscope with a dazzling July 4 display, started movies in the parks, feted senior citizens with an annual bash.
He also battled as much with members of his own Democratic Party as he did with the Republicans who managed to get elected in the face of Gallo’s popularity.
His pride and joy was the renovation of old City Hall. Gallo stumped from Albany to Washington, sold bricks and T-shirts to raise the millions needed for the work. He did it.
“He was too young,” DeCicco said.
Gallo’s sudden death was taking a long time to sink in, hours after the news broke last night.
“I’ve been a member of this community for 50 years and I’ve seen many mayors come and go. There were none like T.R.,” said Elder Christoph Arnold of the Bruderhof, a Christian community with about 800 members in Rifton and Ulster Park.
The pastor’s voice was hoarse with grief: “To tell you the truth, I haven’t yet grasped that T.R. has gone. He was so healthy, so energetic, with a lovely 12-year-old daughter who was always here, riding horses.”
Arnold fondly recalled working with Gallo and the Rev. Willie Hardin of Kingston’s Riverview Baptist Church to raise money for a park in memory of Rickel Knox, a little Kingston girl who was murdered in 1995.
“There was a beautiful working together,” Arnold said. “How can we make this a better community? That was always on T.R.’s mind.”
|Cameron Ott||Email: camo...||Moderator|