A Bronxite who made an enormous impact on his own community while reaching out to neighboring ones was fondly remembered this past week.
Joseph Boiko, who passed away at 63 on Wednesday, October 24, was Riverbay Corporation’s director of Special Projects. He also held other titles in Co-op City’s management over the years, such as ombudsman, where he functioned as liaison between cooperators and management.
Boiko oversaw major improvement projects in the sprawling development such as the elevator modernization and laundry room contracts.
Boiko was the 45th Precinct Community Council vice president and a Community Board 10 member.
He spent more than two decades at the Riverbay Volunteer Ambulance Corps, his sister Betsy Boiko said.
He was trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and in CPR, and organized a bi-annual blood drive in Co-op City, according to friends.
Boiko is described as a go getter who was confident in his ability to get whatever needed doing done.
He was affectionately know as ‘unca’ to the children of family and friends, a nickname he first acquired decades ago when a friend’s nine-month-old daughter tried to call Joe ‘uncle,’ his sister Debbie Dolgin said.
“My two kids were the light of my brother’s life,” said Dolgin, adding she recalled how they frequently called him for advice on all kinds of practical matters.
At Riverbay, which manages Co-op City, general manager Noel Ellison, recalled that Boiko had a ‘can-do’ attitude.
“I think working and living here gave him a clear sense of the cultural and social life of this community,” said Ellison. “He took pride in what he did and did his work with a great deal of confidence.”
Sonia Feliciano, a Riverbay board of director and a neighbor of Boiko’s in Co-op City, where he lived since 1972, said that when she and her daughters moved to the community Boiko taught her about the neighborhood.
“I will always be indebted to him because he embraced me and my children when I moved here,” said Feliciano, adding “He introduced me to community service,” and brought her onto the board of the 45th Precinct Community Council, where she is now board secretary.
“If you need to know something, you would ask Joe,” said Feliciano.
At the 45th Precinct Community Council, he will be sorely missed for a variety of reasons, but perhaps especially because he worked behind the scenes to make the organization’s annual gala breakfast run seamlessly, said council board members Annie Boller and John Doyle.
“He stayed on top of everything and was a great vice president in the sense that he would take care of whatever needed doing,” said Bob Bieder, 45th Precinct Community Council president.
Matt Cruz, Community Board 10 district manager, said that Boiko knew so much about Co-op City and had a lot of knowledge to share.
Cruz said that when he was tasked with an assignment, he would do it very quickly.
“He was an even-tempered person, and about as organized and thoughtful as they come,” said Cruz.
Long-time friend Barbara Penn recalled that Boiko was always giving of himself to anyone who needed assistance.
“He had such a big heart, and cared especially about the Co-op City community,” she said.