Volume 74, Number 33 | December 22 - 28, 2004

Robert Diario, 62, Penn South board member, was Harvey Milk supervisor

Robert Diario, a member of the board of the Penn South co-op in Chelsea, where he made his home, and a Department of Education administrator who was the first supervisor of the Harvey Milk School, died Dec. 9 at the age of 62.

He had been struggling with cancer for several years, said his friend, Frank Carucci, a United Federation of Teachers Alternative High Schools vice president, who delivered the eulogy at his funeral on Dec. 14.

A longtime resident of Penn South, he was elected to the co-op board of directors in 2002 as an independent and leader of the opposition to the dominant Associated Concerned Co-operators slate.

“We had a very warm relationship,” said Irma Lobel, a longtime Penn South board member and member of the A.C.C. slate who was elected this year as president of the co-op. “He asked me in June when he became ill if he should resign from the board, but I told him he was still a valued member and asked him to stay on,” Lobel recalled.

Simone Lageoles, a fellow Penn South resident, recalled him as a kind and caring person. “He was a wonderful friend and worked to make living in Penn South better. He touched so many lives,” she said.

“Bob’s most important work with the Board of Education was with the Alternative High Schools Program,” recalled Carucci. “He became the first supervisor of the Harvey Milk School because he believed that we are all created equal and different and that he had to fight and support that recognition. His work with the High School H.I.V./AIDS Resource Center is legendary. His fundraisers for the center brought together kids from all parts of the city, of all backgrounds and joined them with professional guest-star performers,” Carucci said.

A cousin, Carol Falco, of Brooklyn, survives. The Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. The funeral on Dec. 14 was at the Church of Our Savior on 38th St. at Park Ave. and burial was in St. John’s Cemetery in Queens.

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