Tag Archives: dies

Beloved St. Francis Prep football coach Vince O’Connor dead at 85

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the St. Francis Prep Facebook page

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 17, 1:48 p.m.

Vince O’Connor, the legendary and beloved football coach at St. Francis Prep for more than six decades, died on Friday night. He was 85.

Sources close to O’Connor said he passed away at his daughter’s home in Floral Park.

News of O’Connor’s death came as a blow to students, colleagues and the thousands of alumni whose lives he touched during 62 years as football coach. He has been at the helm of the school’s football team since 1952 when St. Francis Prep was at North Sixth Street in Brooklyn.

Hundreds of people who knew O’Connor came out to show their respect at his wake on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the school is expecting a large crowd to be at the funeral, which will take place Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the school’s auditorium.

During his storied career, O’Connor amassed more than 300 victories to be among the top two winningest football coaches in state history. His teams have won 16 CHSFL titles, including 14 at the highest level, and he has coached nine players who went on to the NFL.

But his greatest legacy may be the tight-knit community that he helped build around the school and his football program. With rare exceptions, all of his assistant coaches over the years have come from the ranks of his former players.

O’Connor, friends said, never intended to retire despite his age.

“I enjoy what I do. It’s as simple as that,” he said in a published report two years ago.

Under Coach O’Connor, the Terriers posted undefeated seasons in 1957, 1964, 1966, 1972, 1973 and 1983. In 1992, he was honored as National Coach of the year.

O’Connor has been named New York’s Catholic High School Coach of the Year 20 times and he has served as president of the CHSFL. He was selected in 2000 for the Frank McGuire Foundation Award, which recognizes high school coaches for their positive impact on students.

He is survived by his wife Mary, his daughter Rose and her three children, Patrick, Connor and Dylan.


Man dies after fleeing police in Ridgewood

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

Updated 2:53 p.m.

A 46-year-old man died following a police chase in Ridgewood Wednesday afternoon after he told officers that he was having trouble breathing, authorities said.

The man, Daniel Levitt, was sitting on a motorized scooter in front of a home on Grand View Avenue at about 2:10 p.m. when a sergeant and police officer spotted him, cops said.

After seeing the cops, the man, who had an active arrest warrant relating to a petit larceny incident, fled down Grandview Avenue in the wrong direction, according to police. The officers began to follow the man in their unmarked vehicle until he collided into the side view mirror of an SUV near Grand View Avenue and Bleecker Street.

He then fell off his scooter and tried to run, but the cops nabbed him down the block.

The man then told officers that he had a pre-existing medical condition and was having difficulty breathing, cops said. He also told them that he had medication for his condition and the officers then administered the medication.

According to published reports, he was asthmatic and also had a pacemaker. When he couldn’t breath, he asked the officers to administer his inhaler.

At that point, the man stood up and moments later he became unconscious. His handcuffs were then removed and the officer began chest compressions while EMS was called, authorities said.

He was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner is determining the cause of death and the Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident.





Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Cloudy with occasional rain showers. High 53. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Friday night: Rain early followed by a mixture of wintry precipitation overnight. Low 37. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Bach & Brew: Dongsok Shin & Leah Nelson

Pianist Dongsok Shin performs on the King Manor Museum’s fortepiano and is joined by violinist Leah Nelson. The program will include works by Johann Christian Bach and Muzio Clementi. Sample craft beer similar to what would have been enjoyed during Rufus King’s lifetime. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City sues Bell Helicopter for $12.4 million after 2010 splash-land in Jamaica Bay

New York is demanding Bell Helicopter Textron fork over $12.4 million to replace an NYPD aircraft that was destroyed after it splash-landed in Jamaica Bay due to a mechanical defect, according to a new lawsuit. Read more: New York Daily News

Lawsuits filed in connection with Metro-North derailment

The first lawsuits have been filed in the deadly Metro-North derailment as some victims say the tragedy should have been prevented. Read more: CBS New York

Bus shooter’s insanity defense fails; jury convicts

A sociopathic gunman’s insanity defense failed on Thursday when a Queens jury convicted him of shooting three men dead — two on the Q111 bus. Read more: New York Post 

Small-business hiring increases slightly in November

Hiring for small businesses was just so-so in November. Read more: New York Daily News 

Mandela’s influence felt in New York City

When a newly freed Nelson Mandela visited the United States in 1990, his first stop was New York City. From elected officials to everyday New Yorkers, the political giant is remembered fondly for the strength of his character and the power of his example. Read more: AP

Man dies after being shot in head, neck in Jackson Heights

| mchan@queenscourier.com

A 33-year-old man died Friday after he was shot in the head and neck in Jackson Heights, police said.

The name of the man was not yet released.

Police said the incident occurred September 20 shortly before 6 p.m. at 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

There were no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, police said.



Alice Cardona, women’s rights activist, passes away

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Alice Cardona’s (1930-2011) advocacy for women’s rights and bilingual education, as well as her efforts as founder of various organizations for Latinas, distinguished her in New York activist communities. She passed away on November 1 of cancer.

Cardona was born on March 17, 1930, the first of nine children. Upon graduating from high school in 1950, Cardona began to work in a store. During this period, she also volunteered at the Legión de Maria, visiting and giving psychological support to black and Latino people in need. This experience helped expand Cardona’s understanding of the oppressive social, economic, and educational obstacles that these groups faced in New York.

In 1961, Cardona decided to join the Sisters of St. John, a religious order based in Taylor, Texas. After a short time in the community, however, she decided that the religious life limited her abilities to affect change so she abandoned the religious vocation.

In 1964, she became involved in the first Head Start program in New York.

Cardona’s career flourished between 1970 and 1978, a period during which she worked at ASPIRA as a counselor for youth and later as director of a counseling program for parents and students. Cardona was also an active member of National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW). She also co-founded HACER/Hispanic Women’s Center, which aimed to help Latinas to achieve their professional goals via education.

During the Cuomo administration, Cardona was the assistant director of the New York State Division for Women. She directed the office’s day-to-day operations. This position allowed her to further advocate for bilingual education and women, including those in prison. She also worked to combat HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and domestic violence.

Since her retirement in 1995, Cardona dedicated herself to participate as a member or founder in a variety of organizations. She was the director of the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs (PRACA) and was co-director of Atrévete — a group dedicated to voter registration and political participation organized by the Migration Division. She was member of the boards of National Women’s Political Caucus, National Association for Bilingual Education, and Puerto Rican Educators Association. She was also a member of various other organizations.

In July 1997, Cardona was one of 70 women from the United States to be invited to attend the “Vital Voices of Women in Democracy” conference in Beijing, China to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Women’s Forum. She also served as the Hispanic liaison of the office of Assemblymember Cathy Nolan and as a trustee of the National Latina Caucus.

Cardona, honored by The Queens Courier as a “Top Woman in Business,” is an author and the first Latina to receive the Susan B. Anthony Prize.

Her sister Diana is following her wishes to be cremated and a service will be held in the near future.