SCHENECTADY — Confessor, father, friend:
Tony “The Duke” DeLorenzo was “everything to everybody,” said David Buicko, president and CEO of the Galesi Group. “He was who he needed to be.”
DeLorenzo, the company’s first-ever employee, was honored Wednesday with the unveiling of a plaque that will be displayed at his namesake restaurant at Rivers Casino & Resort.
Speakers recalled his warmth and reputation as someone who always put other people first.
“Tony knew everything — his mission in life was to make people feel important,” Buicko said.
Francesco Galesi hired DeLorenzo in 1969 to work at the Guilderland component of the Schenectady Army Depot, a campus built to supply the Allied war effort during World War II.
“Tony was the leader of those facilities,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority.
As the Galesi Group was making inroads in the Capital Region, DeLorenzo for a time opened clams at Picard's Grove in Voorheesville, which put him in touch with executives, relationships that later served him well during his long tenure with the company, recalled his son, Bob DeLorenzo.
“'Treat other people the way you’d like to be treated', and he lived it,” Bob said.
As special assistant to the chairman, DeLorenzo played a key role in many of downtown Schenectady’s most successful development projects, leaving a “tremendous legacy,” Gillen said.
“We’re so grateful for everything he did for us,” he said.
The plaque, which will be installed in the lobby of Duke’s Chophouse, contains a beaming image of DeLorenzo, who died in 2007 at the age of 89.
“This is amazing,” Bob said. “He would absolutely love this.”
Galesi also made an appearance.
“That’s why everybody’s here now — to remember Tony,” Galesi said. “He was a very humble guy, but he helped make the whole thing happen.”
Buicko was the chief financial officer, but DeLorenzo was the ambassador for the company, he said.
While DeLorenzo’s legacy took center stage, speakers also feted the determination and perseverance of the Galesi Group, who have invested $1 billion into the region since 1969, including transforming a moribund stretch of Erie Boulevard into Mohawk Harbor.
“They invested in the Capital Region when no one was investing in the Capital Region,” Gillen said.
“One billion dollars later, we’re still here,” Buicko said.
For their contributions, Mayor Gary McCarthy presented Galesi and Buicko with the Patroon Award, the city’s highest honor.
McCarthy praised Galesi’s energy and enthusiasm.
“He reflects so well on this community,” McCarthy said.