If any elected official deserves a posthumous tribute in recognition of his accomplishments, it is Frank Stabile Jr.
Stabile, who represented Catskill in the Greene County Legislature for two decades and lived in Palenville, may be remembered more for his personality than his politics. And both could be tremendously persuasive.
Greene County lawmakers announced last Friday they plan to dedicate the legislative chambers in Stabile’s name to honor his memory. He died April 15 at the age of 78.
Stabile’s public life was far-reaching. He served 18 years as chairman of the Legislature, an atypically long time to hold a single appointed office on a board that was in constant flux. He held the chairman’s post from 1986 until his retirement from politics in 2005. He also served on the Catskill Town Board for eight years.
As chairman, Stabile presided over the first Legislature meeting in the new Greene County Office Building in 2004. With his inimitable cool, Stabile reassured many that the business of government would go on smoothly even in a building that sparked so much public controversy.
When you were in his presence, his political acumen was palpable, yet he was not strictly a firebrand. His smile put you at ease and his relaxed approach to legislative meetings could cool out the steamiest of crowds. But when he needed to make a point or state his views on a subject, he conveyed a plain-spoken gravitas that said he would brook no nonsense.
A natural public servant. A local legend in Catskill and Greene County. A champion of volunteer service. A politician who could be fair and firm at the same time. A man whose handshake was a contract. A mentor for a generation of Greene County legislators. A leader. Frank Stabile Jr. was all of these and much more.