TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- A memorial service for former Westchester County Executive Alfred DelBello is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown.
The Lewisboro resident died on May 15 at the age of 80. DelBello's wife, Dee, told The New York Times that he died from injuries suffered in a fall last month.
DelBello was Westchester's first Democrat to hold the office of county executive in 1973 and he was re-elected twice. DelBello began his political career in the 1960s as a Yonkers City Council member and then its mayor.
DelBello returned to the private sector as a partner in the law firm of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr in 1985 after serving three years as lieutenant governor when Mario Cuomo was governor.
During his tenure as county executive, the countywide bus system was created and the Westchester County Medical Center replaced the former Grasslands Hospital.
As county executive, DelBello also negotiated a contract with Signal Environmental Systems to build the Charles Point garbage-to-energy plant in Peekskill. He later became a top executive at Signal and its successor, Wheelabrator Technologies.
During his final term as county executive, DelBello led the first emergency planning drills at the Indian Point nuclear power plants following the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pa. At the time, Indian Point faced heightened protests by anti-nuclear activists and federal hearings to consider a permanent shutdown of the power plants in Buchanan..
Despite their differences on other issues, Mario Cuomo often relied on then-Lt. Gov. DelBello's expertise at Indian Point while Cuomo was making equally costly and politically sensitive decisions about the fate of the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, which never opened on Long Island. Cuomo came under mounting public pressure to close Indian Point, while DelBello continued to monitor nuclear safety issues and Indian Point drills and shutdowns from his state office at the World Trade Center.
DelBello graduated from Manhattan College and received his law degree from Fordham Law School. He also served in the National Guard.
When New York City Mayor Ed Koch ran for governor in 1982, he picked DelBello as his running mate. Koch lost to Mario Cuomo in the Democratic primary, But DelBello managed to defeat Carl McCall in the primary for lieutenant governor. The Cuomo/DelBello ticket won in the general election. DelBello ran an unsuccessful race for state Senate in 1994.
In addition to his wife, Dee, the publisher of the Westchester and Fairfield county business journals, he is survived by a son, Dr. Damon DelBello, and three grandchildren.
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