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Longtime Jefferson County Legislator Gino M. Zando dies

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Gino M. Zando, 82, a longtime Jefferson County legislator, died Friday morning at Carthage Area Hospital.

Deferiet mayor from 1978 to 1982, Mr. Zando joined the board in 1996 when it switched from a Board of Supervisors to a Board of Legislators.

He served the county for 16 years, representing District 6, which includes Carthage and part of Fort Drum. He retired from the board in 2011.

During his tenure, he belonged to all four oversight committees and a number of ad hoc committees.

He chaired the Health and Human Services Committee in 2000-01.

Mr. Zando supported the airport and encouraged economic development.

He served as president of the Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce during his time as a county legislator.

In April 2011, he said he would not seek re-election because “I’ve been in it right from the start. Someone else should be given a chance.”

“He was a very conscientious person. He did his homework. He always had a good word to say to everybody and I’m sure he’ll be missed. He was a great guy and I thought the world of him,” said Legislator Jennie M. Adsit, who served on the board with Mr. Zando from the beginning.

Legislator Scott A. Gray, Finance and Rules Committee chairman, said, “Gino played a good hand of poker. You had to work to get his vote. Somebody like that, I respect. That makes you a better legislator.”

Some legislators remembered Mr. Zando as a mentor.

Legislator Philip N. Reed Sr., chairman of the board’s General Services Committee, said Mr. Zando, who sometimes went by the nickname “Z-man” and was a fan of the fist-bump, “was a great legislator and I always enjoyed working with him. I really appreciated how he treated me when I first got there. He treated you with respect. He was very helpful and had a great sense of humor.”

“He served the people of that district very well. My heart goes out to his family, especially JoAnn,” Mr. Reed said.

Michael J. Docteur, vice chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, recalled Mr. Zando fondly.

“He was the elder statesman of our board,” he said. “Once he told you how he was going to vote he wouldn’t change his mind. He was a solid legislator and you could count on his vote. We will mourn his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Legislator James A. Nabywaniec’s memories of Mr. Zando went further back than many.

“I grew up in Deferiet a street over from the Zando family. I’ve known Gino really my whole life. When I first came on the board, he took me under his wing. He made me feel comfortable. He had a charm to him and a dry sense of humor that kept things lively. My sympathies to the Zando family, who are such a wonderful family,” said Mr. Nabywaniec, chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III, who first met Mr. Zando when he was the security chief for the Miss New York Pageant, said he was a fun guy to be around and would be missed, especially by Deferiet residents.

Mr. Zando also served three years as a village trustee in Deferiet and was elected president of the Jefferson County Village Board Association in 1979.

Mr. Zando was a graduate of Augustinian Academy, Carthage, and worked for 47 years at St. Regis/Champion in several management positions, retiring as customer service manager.

He married JoAnn Lynn Reed on Aug. 7, 1965, in St. James Church, Carthage.

Their first son, Craig M. Zando, was born Feb. 25, 1967.

Their second son, Christopher L. Zando, arrived a few years later.

A complete obituary appears on Page A6.

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