Tributes were pouring in for longtime Community Board 11 chairman Dominic Castore, who died last week at age 83.
Castore, who dedicated 25 years of service to the community board, passed away in Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday, Nov. 10.
“Very few people have been called upon to lead for such a long period of time and did so in such an effective way as Dom Castore,” Councilman Jimmy Vacca said. “He had a way, through force of personality and the history of involvement he brought to the table, to bring people together and advance and protect the community he loved.”
The well known Morris Park leader was appointed to Community Board 11 in 1979.
Castore was born on December 13, 1928 in Brooklyn to first generation immigrants from Bari, Italy and later moved to the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx.
After two years in the the Army, he studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He later created his his own contracting company in 1963.
He was president of the Morris Park Community Association, which he helped found in 1971.
He was also involved in founding and/or serving in several community organizations, including the Bronx Civilian Patrol Council, Senior Citizens Committee, Morris Park Softball League, Bronx Football League, All American Youth Conference, Pelham Parkway Little League and Bronxchester Babe Ruth League.
He also worked for the New York State Division of Substance Abuse and NYS Division for Youth.
“No one who had more of an active interest in maintaining quality of life in community,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “He was a very special community leader.”
His diagnosis with Parkinson’s in the late 1990’s did not stop him from community activism.
“Dom was not only an invaluable source of advice and insight to myself and my office regarding the issues that concerned Morris Park and all of his community board, he was a dear friend,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Former Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who knew Castore for 25 years, called him “not only an important community resource, but he was my partner in government. Really good people like him don’t come around very often.”
One of Castore’s major accomplishments was helping the community to get its own police precinct, the 49th. Prior to 1985, the community had to rely on the neighboring 43rd and 47th Precincts.
Anthony Vitaliano, Board 11’s first vice chair, said Castore “could empathize with people, he knew how to solve problems, he was just dynamic. We are definitely going to miss him for sure.”
“With all of his medical problems, he always had the community board on his mind,” he added. “It was an honor to have served with him.”
Joe Thompson, second vice chair, said Castore was a perfect representation of all the neighborhoods within the board.
“The respect and affection I had for Dom was well deserved,” Thompson said. “Morris Park would not be in the condition that it is in today were it not for Dom’s guidance and perserverance,” said Sal Conforto, treasurer of the Morris Park Community Association and Board 11 member. “He has been the soul of this community and he will be surely surely missed.”
Castore is survived by his wife Pat Cococcia, her children, Amy, Christopher and Adam, and grandchildren Lexi and Vincent, his sisters Grace and Camille, and his children Leonard and Patricia, and grandchildren Matthew, Alexa, Jaclyn, Michelle and Rosemary.
A wake was held at John Dormi and Sons on Morris Park Avenue on Wednesday and Thursday.
The funeral was held Friday at St. Clare of Assisi Church on Paulding Avenue, with burial at Woodlawn Cemetary.
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394