Written by Betsy Abraham Wednesday, 15 January 2014 00:00
Lawrence “Chip” Zaino, a lifelong resident of Westbury and former member of the school board and village trustees, passed away Jan. 2 at the age of 94.
Perhaps no aspect of Zaino’s life was more distinguishing than his time spent on the Westbury school board. In 2011, the district’s administration building was renamed in his honor to commemorate his 27 years of service, which included several years as Board President.
Former board member Stanton Brown served with Zaino on the board for two years, and remembers him as thoughtful and very knowledgeable.
“He had a good sense of what has happened over the decades in the school and community,” says Brown. “He once said ‘your school district is no better than your community, and your school district is no better than your community.’ That’s what stays with me today, he knew they were linked. He had a good sense of Westbury and understood how connected we all are as neighbors.”
Former county legislator Robert Troiano served on the board with Zaino for several years. He describes him as “both a friend and an ally.”
“There is no one I would rather have by my side in a battle because of his loyalty, strength, tenacity and depth of character,” Troiano said.
Troiano adds that Zaino was a great story teller.
“Through his story telling, Chip not only entertained, but imparted wisdom,” Troiano remembers. “I always came away feeling richer and wiser after spending time with him.”
Zaino spent several years as a village trustee from 1975 to 1979. Prior to that, he was on the Village Zoning Board of Appeals, a job that went way beyond the weekday 9 to 5.
“Every Saturday morning he packed up his paperwork and used to go to the houses that had problems and would see for himself what the issue was,” says Zaino's son, Larry Jr. “He did his homework and had a tremendous work ethic. Whatever he did, he made sure he did it correctly.”
Zaino not only served the Westbury community but also his country. After graduating from Westbury High School, he went on to join the U.S. Army Air Force, going overseas in the Asia Pacific theatre for almost four years during World War 2. He earned several commendations including numerous battle stars, a Philippines Liberation Ribbon with a battle star, and Distinguished Unit Badge.
Other than his time spent overseas during the war, Zaino was a lifelong Westbury man. He lived in the village, growing up in a house on Post Ave. and going on to raise his four children on Park Avenue with his wife, Sadie.
“He loved the community. He grew up with so many people there,” says Larry Jr. “He went off to World War II and came back, and had no inkling of ever moving out.”
Larry Jr. says his father passed down many valuable lessons; not just by his words but by how he lived.
“He taught me how important hard work, ethics and morals were,” Larry Jr. says. “It was really from looking at his behavior, how he worked, spoke to people and helped people. My father always extended himself to people and was willing to help, and never expected anything in return.”
Zaino is survived by his four children, Larry Jr., Cathy, Rick and Maria, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. A mass and interment were held in Westbury last week.