Throggs Neck is mourning the loss of a caring, kind and community-comes-first type individual.
Ben ‘Benny’ Randazzo, an 74-year-old lifelong Throggs Neck resident, passed away on Monday, November 2, filling many local residents with sadness and sorrow.
Born on August 28, 1941 to Frank and Mary Randazzo, Benny attended and graduated from Mount St. Michael Academy and eventually began working at his family’s business on Arthur Avenue, Randazzo’s Fish Market, in the late 1960s after briefly working for the original AT&T company.
Many of Benny’s business buddies often referred to him as ‘Red’ because of his red hair, somewhat unusual for an individual of Italian descent.
In October 1966, Benny married his wife Maria.
In the early 1980s, along with his brother Cosmo, Benny ran the Shelter Cove Marina (near Clarence Avenue) after they bought the property with other parties, a location they would both operate until the early 2000s.
After selling the marina, Benny was introduced to Assemblyman Michael Benedetto after Benny’s son, Frank, who was a member of Benedetto’s Chippewa Democratic Club, had recommended that his father work for Benedetto part-time.
After working part-time for a few years, he was appointed as Benedetto’s chief of staff in 2007.
In that position, Benny was instrumental in organizing two of Throggs Neck’s biggest annual events – the Halloween Day Parade along East Tremont Avenue and the Christmas Tree Lighting at Derosa O’Boyle Triangle.
At about 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, while setting up for this year’s Halloween Day Parade, Benny suddenly became unconscious and unresponsive.
He was taken to Albert Einstein College of Medicine and then moved to Montefiore Medical Center, where he died two days later.
“I could not have asked for a better chief of staff than him (Benny), said Benedetto, who added that he saw Benny as a good friend as well as a hard worker.
“He took his job very seriously, he was loved by my staff and he was always helpful to my constituents. He was a very caring and trustworthy individual who always had my back and he never asked for recognition even though he did so much.”
“In the end, he died doing what he loved – setting up for one of his favorite community events,” Benedetto added. “He will be greatly missed by so many people in this neighborhood.”
To those who knew him best, like his daughter Annemarie Randazzo, Benny was a Notre Dame Fighting Irish and New York Giant fanatic and an active member of St. Frances de Chantal for over 50 years.
“My father loved football – especially Notre Dame, he loved his church and he loved his country,” said Annemarie. “He was both hardworking and passionate and he loved to meet and interact with people. He was a truly remarkable man who always gave you the shirt off his back and asked for nothing in return.”
“He really had a passion for community and civic duty,” said Annemarie’s husband Thomas Matsel. “He loved helping others and volunteering for all causes – and that’s what made him so special.”
Benny is also survived by his son, Frank, the Bronx County Public Administrator, and two grandchildren.
Benny’s funeral service took place at St. Frances de Chantal, 190 Hollywood Avenue, on Friday, November 6.