The east Bronx community has lost a beloved advocate.
On Friday, June 10, east Bronx community activist William Madonna passed away unexpectedly in his home at the age of 55.
William was born on October 6, 1961 in Mount Kisco and was raised in Yorktown Heights in Westchester County.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University in Boston, before graduating from the New England School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate degree.
William started his legal career working in the NYC Office of Corporation Counsel Law Department.
Following his tenure there, he joined the Bronx District Attorney’s office, where he worked as a prosecutor.
He later moved to the Bronx, where he maintained his own private practice law firm, the Law Office of William Madonna, in Morris Park, for nearly 25 years, up until the time of his death.
William also served as chief counsel in Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj’s office in the late 2000s and early 2010s and was one of the activists that oversaw the first phase of reconstruction of Pelham Parkway last year.
“This is the loss of a dear friend and a confidant who left us way too soon – he was as close to a family member as someone could be without being related by blood,” said Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. “William (Madonna) was a such a personable, professional and generous people who had so much good will in his heart.”
“His loss is heartbreaking and there is certainly an emptiness and a void in all of our hearts,” Gjonaj added. “This is one of the most difficult situations that I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.”
“He was my mentor, he was my confidant – he was my everything,” said Karen Delvecchio, William Madonna’s niece, who learned from William when she was starting up her own law firm. “Even though he wasn’t from the Bronx – it was as if he was an honorary member of this borough because of all that he did for the community. I can’t even begin to express how much he will be missed.”
Countless community activists, including Morris Park resident George Zulch, are proposing that a stretch of Pelham Parkway be co-named ‘William Madonna Way’, which would also include the planting of a tree and the installment of a plaque in his remembrance.
The cause of Madonna’s death is still unknown.
The wake was held at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home on Tuesday, June 13, and Wednesday, June 14.
The funeral service took place at St. Frances de Chantal’s Church, 190 Hollywood Avenue on Thursday, June 15.
William is survived by his sons Matthew and Eric, his parents Phyllis and Nicholas, and his siblings Susanne, Joan and Robert, along with several nieces and nephews.