Members of the Queens Community Advisory Council and various leaders celebrated the life and legacy of Flushing civic leader Don Capalbi, who passed away in December, on May 7 dedicating a bench in his honor at Queens Botanical Garden.
“Don was an integral member of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens’ Community Advisory Council for over 12 years, making him one of our longest serving members,” said Jaclyn Mucaria, president, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “He was always willing to give advice and be of assistance. Our council has truly felt his loss, but we will also always continue to feel his contributions. We want to publicly share our gratitude, with this bench, here in the community that he served so well.”
Mucaria was joined by Congresswoman Grace Meng, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens COO Bob Blenderman, Queens Botanical Garden Executive Director Susan Lacerte, local elected officials, and community leaders.
Serving as Meng’s Community Liaison and a NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Community Advisory Council member, Capalbi passed away in December 2018 at the age of 73 at a local hospice facility. He was hospitalized at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in November after sustaining a head injury from a fall.
“As my community liaison, Don worked tirelessly for our constituents and he fought tremendously for the community as a civic leader,” said Meng. “But more importantly, Don was a wonderful human being. Dedicating this bench in his honor is an outstanding way to remember his service to the hospital, his affection for the botanical garden, and his dedication to the community. It will also help ensure that the legacy he left behind in the neighborhood is not forgotten.”
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.
The Flushing civic leader was also a member of many other organizations in the Queens community including the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, 109th Precinct Community Council, Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality and the NAACP.
“I thank NewYork-Presbyterian Queens for celebrating the life and accomplishments of Don Capalbi through the adoption of a bench here at Queens Botanical Garden. Don was everywhere, and so many people knew him. He cared deeply about this community, its people, places, businesses, and institutions and worked tirelessly to have a better community,” said Lacerte. “I am delighted that Don’s name will live on in a public way in this oasis right down the street from NYPQ and Queensboro Hill. Don told me once that when riding on the bus he always craned his neck to look at the tulips in our garden when they were in bloom. The tulips are in bloom now—and Don is surely looking … and smiling.”