Tribute to Mayor Nicholas Corbiscello (1919-2020)

All flags are waving at half-mast at the Fort Lee Borough Hall and throughout the town in memory of Nicholas A. Corbiscelloformer Mayor Nicholas Corbiscello.  

Nick served as Mayor for 12 years (three consecutive terms). He was “the people’s mayor” and to this day those that knew him still addressed him as “Mayor.” He served as a Bergen County Freeholder from 1986-1989. In addition, Nick served on the Fort Lee Planning Board for 14 years and in 1991 he was appointed the commissioner of the Bergen County Utilities Authority (1991-1996). He continued to contribute his expertise to the county by being liaison to the Hackensack Meadowland Commission and serving on the Bergen County Transportation Committee.

Over the years, Nick continued to demonstrate his outstanding leadership skills by becoming the President of the Cliffside Chapter of UNICO, the President of the United Republican Club of Fort Lee and the Vice President of the East Bergen Council for Mayors. 

At 92 years young, Nick was elected to the Executive Board of Directors at the Atrium Palace Condominium in Fort Lee, his residence for the last 10 years, where he served actively on the board until he was 98 years old. 

Nick died of natural causes on July 6, 2020 at the age of 100.  

View Mayor Sokolich’s Tribute video for Nick here.

FUNERAL & VISITATION

Monday, July 13 – 4-8pm: Open visitation will be held at the Patti & Mikatarian Funeral Home at 327 Main Street, Fort Lee (next to the Borough Hall). Walk-in, walk-out are welcome. 

Tuesday July 14 – 10:45am: All are asked to assemble in The Main Madonna RC Church off Whiteman Street in Fort Lee NJ. Specific arrangements are being made to be COVID mindful with appropriate distancing in a sanitary environment.

TRIBUTE & OBITUARY

Below please read the loving tribute and complete obituary written by his daughter, Maria.

All flags are waving at half-mast today (July 7, 2020) at the Fort Lee Borough Hall and throughout the town in memory of my dear father former Mayor Nicholas Corbiscello.

When the skies opened up yesterday afternoon (July 6, 2020), God took another angel… this time it was mine.

Nick, as he was affectionately called, was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic and left this world yesterday in the midst of COVID 19. To be born and die in a pandemic is quite a remarkable coincidence…. But then Nick was truly a remarkable man.

Some say that I was one of the lucky ones because I had him for so long…. Others say the longer you have them… the longer you want them.  Even at 100 and ½ years “young” … for me his passing was much too soon. 

I will forever hear his voice, see his smile and feel his hand in mine.

His unending wisdom will continue to carry me through even my darkest days.

To say that my father was my pride and joy does no justice to what he brought to my life.

How do you describe the man who made the world spin for you, who was larger than life with a heart that beats for all.  

On Christmas Eve in the year 1919, in Fairview, New Jersey, Nicholas Anthony Corbiscello was born to Italian immigrant parents who came to America seeking opportunity. Nick, the eldest son of 6 children learned early in his life that education, hard work and perseverance would be his priority.  He attended public elementary schools in Bergen county, and received his intermediate schooling in Binghamton, New York, where his father decided to move the family after winning a road building contract during the Great Depression.   

As Americans filled long breadlines and people begged for food, young Nick carried the water bucket to quench the thirst of the laboring men while building the early roads of Binghamton, New York with his father.  In later years, Nick would recall the difficulties during those days of being an Italian American.  The anti-Italian sentiment painted Italians as subhuman and undesirable and employers often refused to hire people of Italian extraction.  Nick knew that he would always walk tall and stand proud of his Italian heritage and, in doing so, he committed himself to be the best he could be and to make his mark in life by bringing only pride to the Italian people. And so he did for all his life.

Nick continued his high school education as a graduate of Jersey City Prep and then on to attend Rutgers University and St. Tomas University while stationed in Manila, Philippines.

Nicholas Anthony Corbiscello was a member of the Greatest Generation. A generation of Americans that we may never see again. A generation marked with discipline, sacrifice and triumph that defined America and is now passing into history.

He survived the Great Depression and was proud to serve his beloved country during World War II in Asia Pacific, landing with the first assault troops on Morotai in the Dutch East Indies, Luzon and the port of Manila in the Philippines, and finally landing ashore with the first troops in Wakayama, Japan under the command, and literally alongside, General Douglas MacArthur.  

He was a Bergen County boy through and through.  

In 1946, immediately upon his arrival home from the war, he took a small loan out to buy an army surplus bulldozer and started his heavy construction company, Corbiscello Bros, Inc., building many of the Bergen county roads and homes, and heavily excavating many of the hi-rise building footprints that we commonly drive on and live in today.

He began his political career as a Fort Lee Councilman in 1976 and in 1979 Nick was elected Mayor of Fort Lee where he held the office for 12 years or 3   consecutive terms (1980-1992) During his mayorship, Nick was elected and served as a Bergen County Freeholder from 1986-1989.  He was “the people’s mayor” and to this day those that knew him still addressed him as “Mayor.”  In addition, Nick served on the Fort Lee Planning Board for 14 years and in 1991 he was appointed the commissioner of the Bergen County Utilities Authority (1991-1996).  He continued to contribute his expertise to the county by being liaison to the Hackensack Meadowland Commission and serving on the Bergen County Transportation Committee. 

Over the years, Nick continued to demonstrate his outstanding leadership skills by becoming the President of the Cliffside Chapter of UNICO, the President of the United Republican Club of Fort Lee and the Vice President of the East Bergen Council for Mayors.  

At 92 years young, Nick was elected to the Executive Board of Directors at the Atrium Palace Condominium in Fort Lee, his residence for the last 10 years, where he served actively on the board until he was 98 years old with his mind as “sharp as a tack.” Still an incredible businessman and strategist, calculating figures in his head and negotiating big business for the Atrium as well as his own private commercial real estate holdings. 

Lucky for my late brother Tony and I, my father met my mother Anna on the dance floor at Palisades Amusement Park in 1947. They married in 1950, moved to Fort Lee and had two children, Tony and Maria, and just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last week.  A never-ending love story that most could only dream of.

He was a beautiful man both inside and out and his heart shined a light on everyone he touched.  Always an inspiration, always a true gentleman and always proud of his Italian heritage. His life was full and rich in virtue, always finding the good in everything and everyone and believed emphatically that you must make every moment count.  “Never stop learning and never stop being productive” he would say to my brother and I.

He was the finest man I have ever met.  True and true… authentic to the core.

At the ripe “young age” of 100 ½, he died of natural causes.

I’m so thankful that God chose you Dad to bring me into this world and for all that you have taught me about being the person that I am. 

I’m so blessed to have been standing on the shoulders of a giant. Rest in Peace Dad… you’ve done good in this world!