John Marchi, an Italian American Class Act
John Marchi passed away last Saturday. In my opinion, he was among the best and the brightest and he deserves a place alongside New York City's other unblemished political heroes such as Fiorello LaGuardia and Mario Cuomo. He left us at a time when positive political role models for Italians, Italian Americans, and those who want to be, are becoming scarce. History repeats and our time is another one during which too many elected representatives are being exposed as disgraces of one sort or another. Even in the heat of battle, John Marchi demonstrated that the connection between disgrace and politics is not a given, and on the contrary that the connection between grace and Italianita is.
Staten Island born and raised, John J. Marchi, died last Saturday, April 25th, 2009 while visiting his family's ancestral hometown of Lucca, Italy. He was 87 and his life is a great example of how places mold people. Lucca is surrounded by imposing walls built to defend itself against an "old enemy" (Florence), and Staten Island is essentially surrounded by a moat that separates it from its historical nemesis "New York City." Win or lose, John Marchi only defended things he felt were worth the effort.