Anthony J. Pecorale Jr. spent a lifetime as a leader in several Long Island school systems, serving as a principal, curriculum chairman and superintendent of two Suffolk County districts, as well as an interim top administrator in nearly a dozen districts.
He was a tireless advocate for public education, said one of his daughters, Erica Pecorale. “He was extremely dedicated to his work and in supporting children and families,” said Pecorale, 51, of Brightwaters.
Anthony Pecorale, a longtime resident of West Islip, died Feb. 12 at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. He had Alzheimer’s disease and was 83.
He had retired from serving as the superintendent of the Bayport-Blue Point and Lindenhurst school districts.
Born in Staten Island, Pecorale majored in education with a focus on math and science atSUNY Oswego. He worked in the West Islip schools in the late 1950s and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1958 to 1960.
He returned to West Islip schools as a sixth-grade teacher. He moved to the community with his wife, Maria, who was a teacher there when they met. The couple married in 1965 and raised five children in the community.
Pecorale earned a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University and a doctorate from Fordham University. As a curriculum director in West Islip, he launched a successful effort to bring a planetarium to the high school.
He went to work in the Bayport-Blue Point schools as an assistant district principal. He was that district’s superintendent from 1974 to 1982, then the Lindenhurst superintendent until 1994.
Pecorale was "a well-respected member of Lindenhurst’s educational community who made valuable contributions to our district; he will be deeply missed,” Lindenhurst Superintendent Daniel E. Giordano said in a statement.
After he retired, Pecorale served as an interim superintendent in 11 Long Island school districts. He also was an adjunct professor at institutions such as Fordham, LIU Post and Stony Brook University.
“He loved spending time with his grandchildren and, after he stopped working, he spent a lot of time baby-sitting, watching the kids and going to their sporting events,” Erica Pecorale said.
He also was influential in launching SCOPE Education Services, a nonprofit that provides professional development, child care and other programs to New York State school districts, educators, parents and children. He was appointed several times by state leaders to help school districts, and with his knowledge in public education finances, he was considered an expert on tax matters. Other school districts often sought his expertise in their budgetary concerns, his daughter said.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Pecorale is survived by his children, Anthony, 53, of Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, Ralph, 49, of St. James, Paul, 47, of Sayville, and Laura Krauss, 40, of Rocky Ridge, Maryland; his brothers Michael, of Orlando, Florida, and Vincent, of Staten Island; sisters Anna Beni, of Margate, Florida, and Mary Domerew, of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; and 10 grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister, Joan Schauder.
The family requests donations to Day Haven Adult Day Services in Ronkonkoma and the Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center Inc. in Bay Shore.
Visiting was Thursday and Friday at the Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in West Islip. A Mass was offered at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Bay Shore on Saturday, followed by burial in Queen of All Saints Cemetery in Central Islip.