Eugene J. “Gene” Corsale, a prominent community activist and supporter of veterans’ causes, died Saturday at the age of 85.
Corsale’s health failed in the past year, but before that he was very active in support of veterans’ causes. He was also a longtime railroad buff.
He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War.
“This weekend Saratoga County lost probably its staunchest advocate for veterans services throughout the county,” said Frank McClements, acting director of the county Veterans Services Agency.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday dedicated a prayer to him before its meeting. “He was a giving, caring person who always thought of others,” said Saratoga Supervisor Tom Wood, the board chaplain.
A lifelong resident of the city, Corsale graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1946 and worked for the Delaware & Hudson railroad as a locomotive fireman and later a maintenance foreman on track relocation projects in Ballston Spa and North Creek. He also worked 19 years for International Paper in Corinth.
He served in the Navy from 1950 to 1954 aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin and aircraft carrier USS Midway.
Corsale became a real estate broker and served as an assessor for the city of Saratoga Springs, and later was Saratoga County director of real property tax services, retiring in 1995.
In retirement, Corsale worked summers as a conductor on the Upper Hudson River Railroad scenic train in North Creek. He was known as an avid railroad enthusiast, publishing articles and serving on historic society boards. He organized a school railroad safety program for the Ballston Spa School District after several tragic deaths on tracks near the village.
Corsale was an originator and co-chairman of the monthly Saratoga County Honor a Deceased Veteran program, which began in 1999, and was a leader of the program until his health declined.
In recognition of his advocacy for veterans’ causes and his service to community, the New York State Military Heritage Institute designated him as the 2009 “Veteran of the Year.”
In 2011, he was honored by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors as the first recipient of the Key to Saratoga County for his “advocacy and tireless efforts on behalf of veterans.”
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara, two daughters and three grandchildren, as well as a brother and other relatives.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Clement’s Church, 231 Lake Ave. Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the William J. Burke and Sons Funeral Home, 628 N. Broadway. Burial with military honors will be in the family plot at St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, Northeastern New York Area, 440 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205 or the National Stroke Association, 9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B, Centennial, CO 80112.