‘Love ’em, hate ’em, that was him’

Port Chester Park Commission honors the late Jerry Terranova with a plaque at Edgewood Park

This story originally appeared in the 6/3/21 edition of the Westmore News. For the original article, follow the link.

By John Donegan

He usually carried a cigar in his pocket or clenched between his teeth. He usually carried a friendly smile that offered gracious words; other times he was hard-nosed and extraordinarily persistent. That was Jerry Terranova Sr., at least by those who knew him.

A small gathering of his loved ones came to Edgewood Park on Saturday, July 24, to witness the unveiling of a plaque emblazoned with Terranova’s likeness, smiling with a cigar in position two. The plaque, which was ordered and picked up several months prior, is now anchored onto the stone seated beside the park’s entrance. The Port Chester Department of Public Works provided the stone and planted the flowers to beautify the memorial.

Terranova is commonly remembered for chairing the Port Chester Park Commission for 22 years. He’s also recognized for his 50 years as treasurer for the Harrison Volunteer Fire Department. He was persistent and succeeded through small reforms, such as the expansions of and additions to Port Chester parks—benches at Lyon Park, a dog park at Abendroth and restrooms at Edgewood. He passed away on Mar. 31, 2019.

“Today is the culmination of a year and a half’s work to get this done,” said Jerry Donahue, a former member of the Park Commission.

The ceremony took under 10 minutes. The group, largely his family and former colleagues, spent most of the time catching up or reminiscing over their time with Terranova.

“I think the event we’re having for him is simply fantastic,” said Terranova’s son, Jerry Terranova Jr. “We actually came not so much to respect him but to respect the Commission and the Town for doing this.”

His family fondly remembered his love of antiques, woodworking and cigars. He loved the outdoors and all that it includes, such as plant life and the local fauna.

“How many people do you know in your town, where you grew up in, that want to remember anybody?” Jerry Jr. said. “Half the time when people leave town, they say, ‘good, they’re gone.’”

The Port Chester Park Commission voted unanimously to memorialize Terranova with a plaque mounted on the stone seated next to the park’s entrance.

“It’s something we all wanted,” said Concettina “Connie” Thalheimer, current chair of Park Commission. “We wanted to honor Jerry Terranova for his accomplishments in this village, and he had a lot of accomplishments.”

When Terranova was on the Commission, he had the Village purchase the house in Edgewood Park and demolish it so they could build restrooms and a parking lot. Shortly after Terranova died, the bathrooms were built, and a community garden was constructed.

“Jerry (Sr.) worked very hard to get the Saline family house purchased by the Village, which is where the bathroom is,” Donahue said. “He got the Village to buy it, knock it down and add it to the Park.”

Thalheimer added that while much work still needs to be done, she is proud of how far the parks have come. Those accomplishments are something she, along with other members of the Commission, believe wouldn’t have been possible without Terranova.

“Love ’em, hate ’em, that was him,” Thalheimer said.

“I saw a man that was so dedicated to Port Chester, to the parks, very passionate, he was great,” said Park Commission member Ginger Corbia. “There’s not a million good persons walking around in this world, but he was one of them.”

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