Donald Capalbi, Community Liaison for Congress Member Grace Meng and longtime Queens civic leader, passed away at the age of 73 on December 2 at a local hospice facility. He had been hospitalized at Long Island Jewish Medical Center last November after sustaining a head injury from a fall. Don had also served as a Community Liaison for Ms. Meng when she was a member of the New York State Assembly. Capalbi was President of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association and a member of many other community organizations in the Flushing area at the time of his death. He grew up in Astoria and was a longtime resident of the Queensboro Hill section of Flushing.
Constance DelVecchio Maltese, loving wife, mother, artist, pianist and author, passed away at the age of 85 on December 7. She was an accomplished, award-winning artist and her works included the Age of Discovery series at the Intrepid Museum and the New American Women series. Her commissions included portraits of many public officials and judges. She was a member of the Society of Illustrators, Art Students League, Queens Theatre in the Park, Mayor Giuliani's Cultural Affairs Commission, and Chair of the Queens Council on the Arts. She testified recently for the Columbus Circle monument and was knighted by the government of Italy and made a Caviliere. She loved her bungalow and played tennis and the piano with equal gusto. Constance is survived by her husband, former State Senator Serphin Maltese, her daughters, Andrea and Leslie, son-in-law, Arthur and grandchildren, Sondra, Eva, Genevieve and James.
Thomas Clarke, owner of Arby's on Metropolitan Avenue and several other chain restaurants, passed away on December 28. He was a true friend to our organization and will be missed. He donated tons of food to charity events as well to Juniper Park Civic Association. Mr. Clarke died suddenly and unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep. We extend our condolences to his family and friends. He was the beloved husband of Olivia, loving father of Andrea and Joseph and father in law of Benjamin. Devoted grandfather of Thomas James. Cherished son of Veronica and son in law of Elena and Joseph Musso. Brother of Anne Marie, Joseph, John, Veronica, Robert and Joyce. Beloved brother in law, uncle and godfather to many. Mr. Clarke was interred at All Faiths Cemetery. The family asks that donations in his memory be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
John Downer certainly took the traditional Polish birthday greeting of Sto Lat to heart, having achieved 104 years on this planet before his death on February 16. John was born on the Lower East Side in 1914 to parents who immigrated to the United States from Poland at the turn of the century. He attended Fordham University and later worked as an accountant. In 1938, he took the police department civil service exam and was appointed to the NYPD in September of 1941. His entry in the Department was cut short due to the start of World War II. He was deployed to England with the 8th Army Air Force protecting and securing the secret Norden Bombsight project. After returning home, he climbed the ranks of the NYPD, with his final promotion to Deputy Chief Inspector – today's equivalent of Deputy Chief ‒ achieved in June 1969. After his retirement in 1973, he worked for the Board of Education for 2 years hiring and training School Safety agents. He later worked for the American Banknote organization, in charge of security until 1977 when he retired for the last time. When he turned 100, he met with former Police Commissioner William Bratton and was given the opportunity to tour the Operations Unit to see technological advances that did not exist when he was an active member of the NYPD.