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Longtime Jefferson County Legislator Gino M. Zando dies at 82 in Carthage

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Gino M. Zando, 82, a longtime Jefferson County legislator, died Friday morning at Carthage Area Hospital.

A mayor of Deferiet from 1978 to 1982, Mr. Zando joined the board in 1996 when it switched from a Board of Supervisors to a Board of Legislators.

He served the county for 15 years, representing District 6, which includes Carthage and part of Ft. Drum. He retired from the board in 2011.

During his tenure, he was a member of both the General Services and Finance and Rules committees and was Health and Human Services Committee chairman in 2000-01.

He was a proponent of the airport and of encouraging economic development. He was president of the Carthage area Chamber of Commerce during his time as a county legislator.

In April 2011, Mr. Zando said he would not seek re-election because “I’ve been in it right from the start. Someone else should be given a chance.”

The board passed a resolution on the occasion of his retirement, citing Mr. Zando for being “governed by a keen sense of duty” in his official acts and for always showing “a unique grasp of human problems.”

“Gino M. Zando earned the admiration, esteem, and affection of his colleagues,” the resolution read.

Mr. Zando also served three years as a village trustee in Deferiet and was elected president of the Jefferson County Village Board Association in 1979.

Mr. Zando was a graduate of Augustinian Academy, Carthage, and worked for 47 years at St. Regis/Champion in several management positions, retiring as Customer Service Manager.

On Aug. 7, 1965 Mr. Zando married JoAnn Lynn Reed in St. James Church, Carthage.

Their first son, Craig M. Zando, was born on Feb. 25, 1967. Their second son, Christopher L. Zando, arrived a few years later.

Legislator Jennie M. Adsit, a 35-year member of the board, said of Mr. Zando, “He was a very conscientious person. He did his homework. He always had a good word to say to everybody and I’m sure he’ll be missed. He was a great guy and I thought the world of him.”

Legislator Scott A. Gray, chairman of the Finance and Rules Committee, said, “Gino played a good hand of poker. You had to work to get his vote. Somebody like that, I respect. That makes you a better legislator.”

Legislator Philip N. Reed Sr., chairman of the board’s General Services Committee, said Mr. Zando, who sometimes went by the nickname “Z-man” and was a fan of the fist-bump, “was a great legislator and I always enjoyed working with him. I really appreciated how he treated me when I first got there. He treated you with respect. He was very helpful and had a great sense of humor.”

“He served the people of that district very well. My heart goes out to his family, especially JoAnn,” Mr. Reed said.

Michael A. Docteur, vice-chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, said of Mr. Zando, “He was the elder statesman of our board. Once he told you how he was going to vote he wouldn’t change his mind. He was a solid legislator and you could count on his vote. We will mourn his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

James A. Nabywaniec, chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, said, “I grew up in Deferiet a street over from the Zando family. I’ve known Gino really my whole life. When I first came on the board he took me under his wing. He made me feel comfortable. He had a charm to him and a dry sense of humor that kept things lively. My sympathies to the Zando family, who are such a wonderful family.”

Barry M. Ormsby, chairman of the Planning and Development Committee, said, “Gino was a true gentleman. He always took the time to fully understand the issues. He was always helpful in bringing me back into balance on things. He had a good sense of humor. He was a good man and he will be missed.”

Funeral services will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Rita’s Church, Deferiet. Calling hours will be on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at the Bezanilla-McGraw Funeral Home, Carthage.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Zando’s memory may be made to St. Rita’s Church, Deferiet Vol. Fire Dept. or the Carthage Area Hospital Foundation.

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