By Nancy Guenther Chapman
NORWALK, Conn. – Services for the late Frank Esposito, seven-term mayor of Norwalk, will begin today as family members greet friends at St. Matthew Church.
Esposito, 84, died Wednesday.
“His contributions to Norwalk are immense,” said Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba in an email. “From starting the process to get the police a new headquarters, to Reed Putnam (now called 95/7) and starting Waypointe, his work with developers – he got the ball rolling knowing that we needed new development and a strong business tax base to keep residential taxes in check.”
Esposito was born in New York and raised in Norwalk, according to the Magner Funeral Home. He served as a U.S. Army Sgt. 1st class during the Korean War, was a businessman for 25 years and began his political career in 1970 as a Norwalk Housing Authority commissioner. He was a Common Councilman from 1971-74 and served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1980 to 1987, including time as assistant majority leader and as minority leader. In 1987, he resigned to run for mayor.
Esposito opened the door to Norwalk politics for Scialabba, the RTC chairman said.
“Whenever I would meet up with him, he would always call me ‘Buddy,’” Scialabba said in an email. “I thought that was kind of a moniker for a newbie in his political circles, but I would later find out, he called almost everyone he met Buddy … I guess that was his way of making sure he didn’t get your name wrong. That’s the last thing you want to do in politics – call someone by the wrong name.”
Esposito was always chewing on the end of a cigar, Scialabba said.
“My family has known Frank Esposito for many years,” said state Sen. Bob Duff (D-District 25) in an email. “He will be sadly missed. Frank is someone who dedicated his life to our city to become Norwalk’s longest serving mayor and his legacy will be felt for generations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Louise and their family.”
Esposito is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Louise Stroffolino; a son, Frank L. Esposito, and his wife, Aria; and a daughter, Peggy Belline and her husband, Charles Belline. Also surviving are three grandchildren, a great-grandson, a brother and several nieces and nephews.
Esposito’s family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at St. Matthew’s Church, located at 216 Scribner Ave. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Matthew Church, followed by entombment at St. John Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to St. Matthew Church.