By Bill Parry
Flushing civic leader Don Capalbi died Sunday at the age of 73, according to U.S. Rep. Grace Meng.
Capalbi was Meng’s Community Liaison and had served in the same capacity when she was a member of the state Assembly.
“It is a deeply sad day,” Meng said. “A member of our family has passed away and we are devastated by this terrible loss.”
Capalbi died at a local hospice facility. He was hospitalized at Long Island Jewish Medical Center last month after sustaining a head injury from a fall.
“He was an invaluable part of my team, providing me with information and advice about community issues, and representing me at civic meetings and local events. He also fought tremendously for his neighborhood, dedicating countless hours to preserving and improving the quality of life in his community.”
Capalbi grew up in Astoria as the only child of an Italian immigrant mother and a father from Indiana. He was a longtime resident of the Queensboro Hill section of Flushing, a quiet residential neighborhood between Kissena Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway.
In 2009, Capalbi was elected president of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association after the organization fell dormant following the death of its previous leader Phyllis McAuliffe earlier that year.
Capalbi was also a member of many other organizations in the Queens community including the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, New York Hospital Queens Community Advisory Council, 109th Precinct Community Council, Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality and the NAACP.
“Don was much more than a terrific staffer and civic activist. He was also a great human being; a wonderful and special person who was selfless and full of life, and one of the kindest, friendliest and gentlest people I’ve known., Meng said. “He touched and impacted so many lives and was loved, admired and respected by all with whom he worked.
“Rarely did I see him without a smile on his face. I thank Don for his many years of dedication, and I will always remember his unwavering commitment to our constituents, and his many efforts to make our district a better place for all who live and work here,” Meng added. “As I grieve his loss, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed but the legacy of his service, and the contributions he made to help others, will never be forgotten.”
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr