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Editorial: We’ve Lost A Friend

John DaVanzo never let me pay for lunch in the four years that I’ve been editor of the Mineola American. I managed to sneak a check by him a last year at Shaker’s on Mineola Boulevard, but boy was he angry when he came back from the restroom. 

 

He wasn’t angry in the literal sense, but wanted to set an example. I recall, not entirely what he said, but it went something like this: “I want you to take care of the youngster you buy lunch 70 years from now.”

 

That stuck with me. And it always will. I’ve covered my fair share of Mineola Village Board meetings and John was at nearly all of them. I could always count on John to be someone to talk to if I was one of three people in Village Hall and the other person was a stranger. 

 

John knew how to make people feel welcome. He was the first person I met at Village Hall in April of 2010, at his trusty desk in the front lobby. When I told him who I was, he said that I had big shoes to fill in replacing my former editor, Joe Rizza. I still get called

Joe by people to this day, though John knew who I was and I will always remember him. 

 

His big heart and warm smile left an indelible mark on my character. I just hope I can do the same for the youngster I meet 70 years from now.

 

Rest easy John. 

 

— Rich Forestano