Jospeh Oddo, a community leader in Pelham Bay who was a firm believer that public service should be at the heart of government, has died.
Oddo, 64, was acting president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association, having recently ascended to that position after the passing of another civic leader, Antia Valenti.
He died suddenly, passing away in early morning on Tuesday, March 31, said his brother Salvatore Oddo.
He had a variety of ideas for local projects, including rerouting traffic in Pelham Bay near Amendola Plaza to lessen traffic congestion on local streets, and getting a four-way stop for motorists at Coddington and Crosby avenues, an intersection he said was prone to accidents for decades.
Joe was known for his detailed knowledge of city government, much of which may have been honed when he was a Parks Department employee in the 1970s, according to his own account.
Senator Jeff Klein called Oddo a dedicated community leader and a friend to himself and his office.
“His sudden death makes me appreciate even more the intensity by which he lived life and his desire to see great things happen to the Pelham Bay community and the Bronx,” said Klein. “He never stopped thinking and he never stopped caring, his fighting spirit and deep passion for life shone brightly through in everything he did.”
Councilman James Vacca said that Oddo was also very active in the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association, and became involved in the PBTCA after Valenti revitalized it.
“He was a guy who came to my office many times with issues in the community,” said Vacca. “He was very much on top of many of the situations; I found him to be very responsible and level-headed.”
While he had strong opinions, Oddo was also willing to listen and be reasonable, the councilman said.
Vacca added that along with the death several years ago of Michael Crescenzo, longtime president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers, and of Valenti, Oddo’s passing has left a void in the community.
Oddo was also very much involved in the situation at 1870 Pelham Parkway South, a former hospital property, trying to find suitable ideas for uses at the building over the past several years, including a plan he worked on with Assemblyman Michael Benedetto for veterans housing there.
Benedetto said both men were surprised to learn the building, known as the Pelham Grand, was being occupied by a facility run by a social-service agency which ultimately set up shop there last summer. But Oddo persevered, ultimately siting on a community advisory board at the Pelham Grand.
“He was the very epitome of what you hope a great community leader would be,” said the assemblyman. “He was intelligent and concerned, and at the same time caring, with a wealth of common sense about him.”
Community leader Annie Boller said he was an action-oriented man, who upon hearing a concern, would frequently urge discussion and action.
Oddo’s cause of death was not readily available as of press time.
Arrangements were also not yet available as of press time, but the wake is expected to be at Sisto Funeral Home. Oddo had a close association with St. Theresa Church, according to interviews with Oddo before he passed away.
His brother Salvatore said that he leaves behind several siblings including himself, two other brothers, Paul and Anthony and a sister Rosalie.
His father, Salvatore, predeceased him. His mother Marianna lives in Pelham Bay.