TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A procession of limousines and local law enforcement escorting the late New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno to Joseph L. Bruno stadium to honor his wish for one last stop at the ballpark. Those close to him describe it as a fitting tribute for the man who secured the funds to build the home of the Tri-City Valleycats. “We’re here today at this beautiful stadium, which has been home to countless games, countless sporting events and we would not be here if it wasn’t for Joe,” said Bill Fagan, a trustee at Hudson Valley Community College.
On the second lap around the field, there was a moment of silence at home plate. This was the first year since the stadium opened in 2002 that Bruno was unable to throw out the first pitch since the season was canceled due to the pandemic.
“He’d go practice in the underground tunnel for quite a bit before so he could make sure that pitch was perfect every time, and it was. So this was a fond place for him and it was a great sendoff,” said Harry Tutunjian, former Mayor for the City of Troy.
Friends, members of the community, and local leaders gathered in the stands to show their appreciation, say their goodbyes and share their favorite memories.
“He has put a greater imprint on the Capital District that anyone in recent memory,” said Fagan.
“He always cared. He cared about the little people and the big people and we were lucky to call him our friend,” said Regina LaGatta, Executive Director for the Office of External Affairs and Government Relations at HVCC.
“Senator Bruno was a senator who legislated from a position of principal rather than being Machiavellian,” said Mark Mitchell, Vice Chair for the HVCC Foundation.
“Ya know people used to call him “Uncle Joe” because they could always turn to him when they had a crisis or a problem and he knew who to talk to. He had so many friends and so many professional contacts, he knew where to go to get things done,” said Rensselaer County Legislator, Bob Loveridge.
Senator Bruno leaves behind quite a legacy and will be remembered as not only a well-respected and fierce politician who brought so much to the Capital Region, but also as a humanitarian and a good friend to so many.
“God Bless him. He’s at peace now,” said longtime friend, Michael Moscatiello.
A funeral mass was held at Saint Pius X church in Loudonville. Due to the pandemic, it was closed to the public, but services were live streamed.
Following the funeral, the procession made its way past the New York State Capitol before arriving at Oakwood Cemetery for a private burial ceremony.
His son Kenneth Bruno made a touching video to honor his father.