Domenic Procopio, the Chair of New Rochelle’s Civil Service Commission and the long-time President of the Calabria Mutual Aid Society, passed away last night. His death marks the end of an era.
Big-hearted, warm, and generous beyond measure, Domenic loved our city unreservedly and was loved by countless friends in return. Beyond his direct contributions to public life, which were considerable and which earned him innumerable accolades, awards, and honors, Domenic also embodied the multi-generational experience of Italian-Americans in New Rochelle – the hard work, pride in heritage, and fierce determination through which so many immigrants and their descendants rose into positions of meaningful service, leadership, and success.
On a personal level, I will miss Domenic greatly. I will miss his unannounced visits to my office – voice booming out “hello Ms. Taylor, hello Mayor” – always a cheerful highlight of the day. I will miss his shrewd observations about the various characters and personalities who populate and orbit the City government. I will miss his deep knowledge of New Rochelle’s history, grounded often in his close relationships with the people who made that history. I will miss his kindness, decency, and unshakeable loyalty. To understand Domenic fully, a listener was sometimes required to battle through his thick accent, but such attentiveness was well worth it and invariably rewarded with pearls of wisdom.
Were it not for COVID, Domenic’s memorial service would surely bring together hundreds of New Rochelle and Westchester residents in remembrance and tribute. That we cannot gather in person is an especially painful blow in an already painful year. Yet, even from afar, we are gathered in spirit, taking pride in Domenic’s accomplishments, drawing inspiration from his humanity, and expressing gratitude for the community he did so much to shape and strengthen.
May Domenic Procopio rest in peace.