CATSKILL — The Greene County legislative chambers may soon have a new name, honoring former lawmaker and long-time legislature chairman Frank Stabile Jr. of Catskill.
Stabile, who lived in Palenville, was a Catskill legislator for 21 years, 18 of which he served as the legislative chairman. He held the chairman’s post from the mid-1980s until his retirement from politics in the mid-2000s.
He also served on the Catskill Town Board for eight years.
Stabile died April 15 at the age of 78.
Stabile was the first legislative chairman to preside over a meeting at the new Greene County Office Building in 2004, his friend and colleague, Legislator William Lawrence, R-Cairo, said.
“He was a natural public servant,” Lawrence recalled. “It showed in the way he treated people and the way he took on issues.”
Lawrence remembered Stabile fondly.
“We became very, very good friends and ran together many times,” he said. “His passing was a very severe blow to me. He was a good friend and a good person in general.”
Lawrence fully supports naming the chambers in memory of Stabile.
“I’m wholeheartedly behind the idea and to see it come to fruition before I leave myself at the end of the year,” he said.
Greene County Legislative Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said the renaming could happen in time for June meetings.
“I think it’s a respectful thing to do,” Linger said. “We have a portion of Route 23 named for Chairman [Wayne] Speenburgh and I think it is a good point, for the amount of time Chairman Stabile served as chairman, it’s fitting to memorialize that room.”
Legislator Matthew Luvera, R-Catskill, proposed renaming the chambers at the last meeting.
“Frank Stabile is another local legend of Catskill and Greene County,” Luvera said. “He served honorably in the legislature from 1985 until 2006. I remember Chairman Stabile when I was a kid growing up in Catskill, from working at Brandow’s Alley, and the times I would visit his brother Bob and my cousin Margie because Frank lived right next door to them. He always had a smile on his face when he greeted you.”
Robert Stabile is Frank’s twin brother. He is a retired state police investigator.
Stabile continued to have an impact on Luvera throughout his life, he said.
“When I graduated from Columbia-Greene Community College, Chairman Stabile was on stage congratulating the students and when I passed by he extended his hand to me for that accomplishment,” Luvera said. “It’s something I will never forget. A simple handshake. When I was asked to become a legislator, Frank was one of the people that I visited and he told me that he knew I would do a great job. I hope that I can live up to that expectation.”
Legislator Larry Gardner, D-Hunter, expressed his support for the proposal.
“The renaming is very much deserved,” Gardner said. “Frank was a very, very important person in leading the legislature and the county. He helped transform county government into a much more professional organization. We have a lot to thank him for and renaming of meeting room is very appropriate.”
Legislator Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie, agreed.
“I think it’s a good tribute to Frank and his family,” Martinez said. “He was calm, cool and he knew how to get things done. He did a wonderful job as far as I’m concerned and I considered him a friend of mine.”