MP activist Al Corcillo passes away

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Al Corcillo, a longtime advocate for veterans in Morris Park and past grand knight of the Mary Queen of Peace Council of the Knights of Columbus, died at Calvary Hospital on Monday, August 13, four days short of his 89th birthday.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Clare of Assisi Church at 10:30 a.m. today, Thursday, August 16.

Corcillo was one of the founding members of the Mary Queen of Peace Council # 4521 of the Knights of Columbus in the early 1960s.

He helped set up a charitable trusts for Calvary Hospital and local church parishes from the sale of a building Mary Queen of Peace Council owned on Williamsbridge Road.

A World War II veteran, he was in the Normandy invasion and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, said his daughter Celia Cannata.

He was someone who wanted to make sure that the service of veterans was never forgotten, said Morris Park Community Association president Al D’Angelo.

“He often spoke about his experience in the Army with the younger generation, and as recently as his ride in the ambulance to the hospital with the driver,” said Cannata.

He was an “outstanding Cathoic gentleman” said fellow Mary Queen of Peace Council member Bob Bieder, who knew Corcillo since the 1960s. It was his faith that got him through the aftermath of a massive stroke 13 years ago, his daughter said.

“His faith was everything to him,” she said. “It’s his faith that got him through his illness 13 years ago, and his faith that got him through this sickness again.”

A longtime parishioner at St. Clare, Corcillo was part of two campaigns to raise funds to build the parish school, said St. Clare’s pastor Father Richard Guarnieri.

“St. Clare of Assisi was always in his heart,” he said. “It was uppermost in his thoughts except for his family.”

Cannata said her father was born and raised in the Morris Park community, which meant everything to him. He never wanted to live anywhere else, she said.

Corcillo was also instrumental in the creation of Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza on Pelham Parkway, running annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day remembrances there, D’Angelo said. He was also master of ceremonies for many years at the Morris Park Columbus Day Parade.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he plans to ask the City Council to name a street in Morris Park after Corcillo so that his contributions will not be forgotten.

“There are very few people like him in terms of the dedication to his neighborhood, veterans, and representing Americanism,” said Vacca. “He was someone who never asked for anything for himself, but always tried to help other people and the community.”

For almost 30 years, in part through Corcillo’s leadership statewide on the Knights of Columbus New York Chapter, Calvary Hospital was made the principal beneficiary of their year-round fundraising efforts, sources said. To date they raised about $900,000, said Calvary executive vice president Vincent Spinelli.

“Al was a tremendous friend to the patients and families of Calvary Hospital and cared deeply about Calvary’s unique and historic mission of providing end- of-life care,” said Spinelli. “He was a significant force in the efforts of the New York Chapter Knights of Columbus to support the good work of the hospital.”

Corcillo is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marion, who he fondly called “Mickey”, his daughter Celia said. He is survived by four other daughters - Janet, Elaine, Maryanne and Christine, five grandchildren and a great grandson.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group