Remembering Saratoga’s Veterans Advocate on Memorial Day
SARATOGA SPRINGS— It was always an honor to listen to Eugene Corsale as he spoke before city council meetings, in small groups and, on too few occasions, one-on-one. The forthright way he conducted himself: Ramrod-straight and yet selfless, an advocate for veteran’s most times yes, but for what is the right thing always, made an impression on me, and everyone in his audience, of any size, every time.
As this is our first Memorial Day without Gene, I can think of no finer tribute to all veterans than to step aside and let his family, friends and our city leaders past and present, speak in tribute to him as representative of the tribute that we all wish to pay to everyone who serves, and served our country with honor and dignity.
“Gene ‘Pop’ Corsale was the best Grandfather anyone could ask for; he is truly a man to look up to. Pop was a real American. Pop was that kind of person that you could tell that he truly cared about his country, but most of all his Grandchildren, whether it be seeing my sister dance at Ballet performances, teaching me how to fish, or allowing me to eat as much ice cream as I can handle, he was always there for us. Pop also made me understand what it meant to be an American. He always told me that if I were to look to the reason as to why this great nation has achieved so much, it was because we unleashed the freedom of the individual to the greatest extent that has ever been done before. That’s what freedom’s all about. Pop had a special place in his hear for Memorial Day, this day truly symbolizes what it means to be free, thanks to our military.”
- Colin W. Brady, Grandson
“The Navy’s unofficial motto is “Not Self—But Country”. And from the Navy Core Values comes “Honor, Courage, and Commitment.” These two simple axioms are Eugene J. Corsale.
“Honor was not a word to Gene; it was what he did and who he was.
“John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not, what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” There are very few individuals or politicians who can say they lived by these lines. But Gene did.
“Gene, having served in the Korean War, saw first-hand what the evil effects of communism and progressive ideology had on the common man and the country that was forced to suffer under that tyranny. Not self-but humanity.
Gene truly believed it was the supreme sacrifice of military men and women over the last 240 years that has made American the Greatest Country in the world. Gene worked tirelessly to honor the courage and commitment of all the service men and women who have served and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during combat.
“Not self-but Country.
“Not self but Wife, not self but Family, not self but Grandchildren, not self but Community, not self but Country. Gene left a great indelible mark on all those came in contact with him.”
- Joseph K. Brady
Eugene “Gene” Corsale was a sweetheart of a man. He took his Italian heritage very seriously as well as being a native of this city.
I always looked forward to Gene’s bi-weekly visits to Saratoga TODAY – his dedication to the local Deceased American Veteran’s notification in the paper always impressed me. He had the veteran’s life story down pat; all I had to do was type up the details and scan the picture he provided!
I only knew Gene for the duration of my time at Saratoga TODAY, just about five years. But being a native myself, I learned so much about my wonderful city and its residents, young and old, information that Gene chose to share with me. The fact that he remembered my parents was a very special connection that we shared.
He will be remembered by many.
- Anne Kearney Proulx
“Gene and I have been friends and have worked on veteran’s issues and events for over 8 years. Sometimes we'd meet at the Principessa Elena or at the County to talk over issues of Saratoga Springs or regarding the Veterans Committee.
“I thought of Gene as the wisdom behind whatever we were doing but he always cheered me on saying what a great job I was doing for our Community. Coming from him that meant a lot.
“Last year before the Memorial Day parade I called Gene as I did from time to time. This time it was to invite him to be the grand marshal for our traditional annual City Memorial Day parade one year ago. He said on our phone call that he was honored and would come and watch if he had the energy. I felt an instinct that it most important to honor him in that 2013 parade, fearing that it would be his last year with us on this earth.
“I am so glad we had a big banner made in his honor last year to lead the parade and that his son-in-law Joe Brady and his grandson Colin Brady carried it with pride for all of Saratoga to enjoy.
“I miss him as a community leader, a supporter and as a veteran. God Bless Gene, and all our Saratoga veterans, who have served this country with honor and dignity.
-Joanne Dittes Yepsen
Mayor, Saratoga Springs
“Saratoga has always been a special place, with special people. Indeed, Gene Corsale was no exception and, in fact, was more the rule. His passion and compassion was legion in a City that is unparalleled for history, our present and the potential for our future. I had the pleasure of both knowing Gene and working with him on so many causes to advance our City, while preserving our past and giving due recognition to those who made us what we are today.
“The Corsale and Johnson family friendship goes back over 50 years, when my family moved to Saratoga and settled in the Dublin neighborhood. Back then, Dublin was actually a misnomer, with the original Irish having been replaced with Italians. Despite not one ounce of Italian in the Johnsons, we were wholly embraced into that wonderful community, a fact not ever lost by Gene in my later working with him as Mayor. Gene’s sister-in-law, Nancy, and my Mom were best friends up until my Mom’s recent death. The stories are too many to recite in this tribute, but are well known to so many Saratogians.
“Gene will always be known as a vigorous American patriot, a tireless advocate for our veterans, and as a true Saratogian. Whenever Gene came to me as Mayor, with an idea for the City, there was no doubt I was being asked to come along on a mission that would happen nonetheless. His was always a vision, whether it was Veterans Day, Memorial Day, 9/11, Veterans Memorial Park, the Korean Vets Color Guard, or preservation of the Gideon Putnam Cemetery.
“No doubt, our City is less in his absence. We should all be thankful to Gene, and his family, for all they did and accomplished for Saratoga.”
- Scott Johnson
Former Mayor, Saratoga Springs
“Gene was, among many other things, a driving force behind the Saratoga Springs to North Creek “scenic rail” project. Early on it seemed like a pipe dream, a great idea in principle but probably too complex to make happen. His dogged persistence in promoting it and bringing the various stakeholders together was a key factor in bringing it to fruition. He was earnest, friendly and truly non-partisan.
“Lots of community activism can be negative, rallying people AGAINST something. Gene was typically an advocate FOR things, and figured out a way to get them done. He was a true community servant, informed, involved, and above all effective. And he didn’t worry about who got the credit—that didn’t matter as long the community could be made stronger and better.”
- Kenneth Klotz
Former Mayor, Saratoga Springs