Former Gloversville mayor Frank LaPorta died Friday at Nathan Littauer Hospital Nursing Home after a long illness. He was 86.
LaPorta served as mayor from 2002 to 2005, but spent most of his career in the composing room at The Leader-Herald. He retired from the Gloversville newspaper in 1993 after 30 years, according to his obituary.
“I don’t think anyone could say a bad word about him,” current Mayor Dayton King said Saturday. “Frank was a class act and a gentleman.”
Born in 1927, LaPorta graduated from Gloversville High School in 1946. He earned a degree from Fulton-Montgomery Community College in 1971.
During his time as mayor, he was instrumental in getting Wal-Mart to build a supercenter in the struggling city. The store opened last summer, bringing jobs and sales tax revenue with it.
LaPorta also served 24 years on the Gloversville Board of Water Commissioners, including 19 years as its president. He was a senior member of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal benefit society, and served as grand knight of the local council.
While King only had a handful of interactions with LaPorta, he said the former mayor had earned a reputation as a nice man whose term brought few, if any, controversies.
“He was in his late 70s by the time he was in office, and he was just so reserved,” said King. “He was at his desk most days 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you could walk in without any hassle and see him immediately. His legacy is really just being a gentleman and treating people with respect, and I think it’s just really uncommon for today’s time. He committed his life to public service and to his community.”
The city recently dedicated the roundabout leading to the new Walmart store to LaPorta. King said a sign with the name “LaPorta Circle” will go up soon at the intersection of South Kingsboro Avenue and Hales Mills Road.
“Before he passed away, we thought it would be a great opportunity and one of the small things we could do to honor him,” said King. “His brother Vince, another great community guy, said he wished that Frank had had a chance to see it before he passed away. It’s just one small way to honor his legacy.”
LaPorta is survived by four brothers, Joseph, Ralph, Vincent and Alphonso, as well as eight nephews, 11 nieces and several great-nephews and great-nieces, according to his obituary.
Calling hours will be today from 4 to 7 p.m. at Walrath & Stewart Funeral Home, 51 Fremont St., Gloversville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Gloversville.
Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to the Church of the Holy Spirit Preservation Fund, 151 S. Main St., Gloversville, NY 12078.