Mineola bocce players honor one of their own

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Mineola bocce players honor one of their own
Mayor Scott Strauss speaks about Anthony Nocito. (Photo by John Nugent)
Ceremony attendees play bocce, a game Nocito once loved. (Photo by John Nugent)
Ceremony attendees play bocce, a game Nocito once loved. (Photo by John Nugent)

By John Nugent

The Village of Mineola celebrated the life and legacy of longtime resident Anthony Nocito by dedicating a plaque in his memory at Wilson Park on Saturday, with Mayor Scott Strauss leading a large gathering of community members who turned out to salute Nocito’s years of service to the village.

Strauss described Nocito as a man who was ”energetic,” “enthusiastic,” and “community-involved” and whose top priorities were his family and his Mineola neighbors. The mayor also remembered Nocito as an active parent when he was a youngster in the local sports programs.

Family and friends dedicated a plaque to Anthony Nocito in Wilson Park. (Photo by John Nugent)
Family and friends dedicated a plaque to Anthony Nocito in Wilson Park. (Photo by John Nugent)

Although Nocito volunteered his time for numerous village activities, Strauss said one of his proudest accomplishments was the construction of a bocce-ball court at Wilson Park. Many residents gather at the court on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to compete in friendly matches and enjoy each other’s company.

While bocce is traditionally an Italian game, it has attracted residents of other backgrounds to the new court as well. The spirit of good fellowship among the bocce players delighted the community members who came out to see the plaque dedication ceremony.

Members of the Nocito family were on hand to unveil the plaque at the bocce-ball court.

The Nocito family unveils the memorial plaque. (Photo by John Nugent)
The Nocito family unveils the memorial plaque. (Photo by John Nugent)

Nocito’s sister, Lillian Grabowski, said that her brother was known to all as the unofficial “mayor of Mineola” because of his popularity among so many people.

His 9-year-old twin grandsons, Jack and Matthew, fondly remembered playing the Mexican Trade game with him at the Sun Harbor Nursing Home. And his son-in-law John McCormack praised Nocito as an outstanding family man.

Joe Mariani, Nocito’s close friend of 37 years and current leader of the bocce players, spoke about the many hours they spent working with civic leaders to advance the bocce court project. He added that money left over from funds raised for the memorial plaque was donated to the American Diabetes Association.

Following the ceremony, members of the Nocito family invited everyone back to their home for refreshments.

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