Linda Kabot remembers Vince Cannuscio

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One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each others’ stories. Although we are saddened by the loss of Vince Cannuscio, we are also reminded of the many gifts that he has bestowed on all of us. His gifts of love and friendship. His generosity of spirit and dedication to community.

It is holiday time and time for all of us to count our blessings. Among the many blessings we each have, we will always count Vince Cannuscio as one of those blessings.

In October, Vince wrote us all a very moving goodbye letter which was published in the Southampton Press. I wish to quote just one passage:

“There are so many who enrich our lives simply by saying hello, calling to offer support, giving encouragement, or sending a note. My family and I are lifted by your grace. When the sun goes down, we can’t necessarily see the beauty of our farm fields and open waters of the Atlantic and the bays. But that beauty endures in the great character of the people of Southampton Town. At this point, I want to say thank you, folks, for all the goodness you share and for having allowed me and my wife, Carol, to live, serve, and thrive in our community.”

Vince Cannuscio was an extraordinary person. He was always so proud of his wonderful family—his wife Carol, twin sons Aubrey and Mike, daughter Carolyn, and youngest son Tom. He loved all of his children’s spouses and rejoiced in their happiness and success. His eight grandchildren brought him such joy. Vince cherished his father, Michael, mother and sisters Angela and Linda and all of his extended family. He even considered all of his friends part of his family. And, so many, many friends had Vince Cannuscio.

From his Wantagh friends who still call him Vin and Vinny like Kenny Koff, Dave & Sue Birdsall, and Pat Carney Kollhopp, to his Old Harbor Colony friends like the Badoliks, Blechmans, Gundersons, and Tony Galgano and of course, his hunting Buddy Keith Tuthill and mother Harriet, and his political pals John Siegmund, Jim Drew, Ann Nowak, Gene Biancone, and George and Maryann Mathys. Vince also very much enjoyed the good company of his builder friends Jim Zizzi, Tom Datre, and Joe Gazza. And the list continues with Jimmy Papandrea and Rocco Emancipator of the American Legion, and of course, let’s not forget two very special people from out east—Dave and Mary Schellinger—as well as Father Alex and Vince’s many friends at the Greek Orthodox Church and so many, many others from near and far.

When Vince was Supervisor of Southampton Town, he was a true leader. With his booming voice, intelligence and stamina, he led the charge on many fronts. Public service was his calling. He loved working for the people of the great Town of Southampton. Those were his words. He also knew so many people by their names, their spouse’s names, their children’s names and various details about their lives. Vince had a gift and we all marveled at his ability to recall much information and his warm personality.

Vince was courageous, an independent thinker and a man of integrity. He stood for what is right and just. And, another thing about Vince was that he was very inclusive and enjoyed sharing the limelight with others—he always gave credit where credit was due. Vince enjoyed highlighting the achievement of others, including local volunteers in fire departments and emergency medical services like Brian Babcock, State Troopers like Sergeant Slevinski, and also community organizers and beautification groups like Hampton Bays Beautification Association with shining stars Maud Kramer and Susan Von Freddi, and people like Suzie Roden of the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, who does the work of angels.

Vince has surely meant so much to all of us who gathered at his memorial services, and there is an emptiness that we feel with his passing, but to ease the pain in our hearts, memories and love fill us with joy for having shared his good company all these years.

I am proud to say that I worked for Vince Cannuscio, not only in his private appraisal business back in 1993, but also that I served as Vince’s executive assistant for six years in Southampton Town government. He taught me so much over these many years. His dedication to the community has been an inspiration to me and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have worked with him, for him, and for the people of this Town.

We worked together running the Office of the Supervisor with Janice Wilson and Lisa Dunlap and Vince was an exceptional team leader. So many people from local government have fond memories of Vince Cannuscio and we are so grateful to have worked with him and under his command as Town Supervisor. I know I speak for many past and current employees and constituents who are saddened to bid farewell to a great man.

We thank the Cannuscio family for sharing Vince with all of us. We love you Vince, and will always remember you. Thank you for being such a special part of our journey through life.

If there are others who wish to share their stories about Vince, which was a request of the Cannuscio Family as stated at the services, a memory book is being coordinated by my office to be published this spring 2009. Please call (631) 283-6055 or email lkabot@southamptontownny.gov. A landscaped walkway is being installed connecting Main Street Green with Good Ground Park and will be commemorated in honor of Vince Cannuscio. This community enhancement project in the heart of Hampton Bays is being spearheaded by Hampton Bays Beautification Association.

Ms. Kabot is the supervisor of Southampton Town.

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