Diane Gagliardi Collins, 90, of Kent, NY passed away peacefully with family at her bedside in Leesburg, VA on January 7, 2011. She was born in New Rochelle, NY on September 10, 1920. Diane was loved by her 5 sons, William T. Jr. (Nona) of New Port Richey, FL., J. Peter (Marty) of Kent, NY, Jeffrey M. (Tammy) of Purcellville, VA, Frank J. (Karen) of Eastchester, NY, and Brian D. (Sally) of Wappingers Falls, NY, and adored by her 22 grandchildren and 27 great- grandchildren.
She was one of 7 children born to Frank M. and Mary F. (Decicco) Gagliardi of Larchmont, NY. Her father was a respected attorney who practiced law for over 50 years in White Plains. Her sister, Phinina Forbes of Fairfield, CT., and her brothers, Joseph F. Gagliardi of Larchmont, a former Mayor of Larchmont, Westchester County District Attorney and Judge, New York State Supreme Court Justice and Administrative Judge of the 9th Judicial District; Lee P. Gagliardi, of Larchmont, a United States District Judge for the Southern District of NewYork; and Anthony L. Gagliardi, also of Larchmont, a White Plains insurance executive, predeceased her. She is survived by her sisters Gloria M. Gagliardi and Mary Ann (Mitzi) Dugan, both of Fairfield, CT.
Diane was a graduate of The Ursuline School in New Rochelle and attended at Good Counsel College in White Plains. In 1940, Diane married the love of her life, William T. Collins of Larchmont. Diane and Bill raised their family in New Rochelle where she was very active in local community affairs including the American Heart Assoc., American Red Cross, United Cerebral Palsy Assoc., Multiple Sclerosis Assoc., Community Chest, East End Civic and Hazelhurst Park Assocs., Civic Counsel on School Safety, and the Mayor’s Columbus Day Committee.
Diane, like her husband Bill, loved politics and was a strong believer in public service. She was a Republican District Leader in New Rochelle’s 4th District for 10 years, served as Secretary for the 1st Ward Republican Committee, member of the Executive Committee of the New Rochelle Republican Committee, member of the New Rochelle Women’s Republican Club and member of the Board of Directors of the Westchester County Women’s Republican Club. In 1967, Diane was elected to the Westchester County Board of Supervisors representing constituents from New Rochelle and Pelham. She was instrumental in the drafting and passage of legislation creating the present Westchester County Board of Legislators. Diane was then elected to the newly created Board and was the first woman to hold the position of Vice-Chairperson of the Board. She also served as the Deputy Westchester County Clerk in charge of the County Department of Motor Vehicles and in 1978 was appointed as Deputy Westchester County Clerk in Charge of Naturalization. Diane remained in this position until she retired in the early 1990s. In retirement, she remained active as a volunteer at Putnam Hospital Center, Carmel, NY.
Diane, like her husband, father, brothers and sons, was an avid golfer and played the game regularly. She is a former member of Rye Golf Club, Rye, NY, Banksville Golf Club, Banksville, NY, where she was the women’s club champion in the 1970s, and Mahopac Golf Club, Mahopac, NY.
To her sons, she was the perfect mother and a remarkable person; always loving, supportive of their efforts and always willing to be helpful in times of need. Diane is now with her God, and her adoring husband, Bill, who predeceased her in 1987. The family will receive friends at Cargain Funeral Home, 10 Fowler Avenue, Carmel, NY on Friday, January 14, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A Funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 15, at St. James the Apostle Church, 14 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Down Syndrome Assoc. Hudson Valley, 14 Zerner Blvd., Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 or to www.AMCSupport.org CARGAIN FUNERAL HOMES, INC. 10 Fowler Avenue Carmel, NY 10512 (845)225-3672