Richard K. “Dick” Capobianco, who went to work in his family’s Long Island flooring business after he completed his military service, died Feb. 20 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in an East Northport hospice. He was 78.
Capobianco was the third of 17 children born to Fred and Wilena Capobianco of Glen Cove. He worked most of his life for Glen Floors, which his grandfather, Antonio Capobianco, established in 1932.
He graduated from Glen Cove High School in 1955 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed along the East Coast from the Caribbean to Maine, serving at least two years, his son Christopher Capobianco said.
He returned home to start his career in the family business at the Glen Floors store in Hicksville. There a store salesman introduced Capobianco to his daughter Sidnee Hughes, whom he married in 1958.
The Capobiancos, whose business continued to grow over the decades, still own three flooring stores Glen Cove, East Northport and Port Jefferson.
Relatives, including his two sons, continue to work in the flooring industry, with the family company or in their own shops. Christopher Capobianco, 57, still remembers the first lesson his father taught him about the business.
“It was January 1971 when my dad took ownership of ... my grandfather’s store” in East Northport, he said. “The first thing he had me do was sweep the sidewalk because a good first impression is important. I continued to do a lot of things in that store and on the job, but I always swept the sidewalk as well, for as long as I was there.”
Dick Capobianco loved baseball and coached a junior baseball team when Christopher was 11. However, because he wanted to avoid the appearance of favoritism, his father led a team his son was not a member of.
“He had seen cases where the son of the manager or the son of the coach of the sports team got preferential treatment,” Christopher Capobianco said. “It was all about fairness. He didn’t want any implication that I was being treated differently ... It was a great lesson. It definitely stuck for me.”
The downside: Dick Capobianco was a formidable coach.
His father’s team “wound up being the best team in the league and beating us every time we played them,” Christopher Capobianco said.
A lifelong Yankees fan, Dick Capobianco was in the stands in 1999 when they won the World Series.
“The following year was the Yankees-Mets World Series,” Christopher Capobianco said. “His youngest brother Tommy got tickets to Game 5 at Shea and Dad got to see the Yankees win the World Series a second year in a row.”
Capobianco was a boater and skier, a member of the Northport Yacht Club and active in the East Northport Rotary Club.
In addition to his wife of Kings Park and son Christopher of Patchogue, survivors include son Andy Capobianco of East Northport, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral Services were Feb. 25 at Union United Methodist Church in East Northport. Burial was at Locust Valley Cemetery.