Mario Cuomo, former NY governor, passes away at 82

Mario Cuomo, former NY governor, passes away at 82

Cuomo passed away six hours after his oldest son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was formally sworn-in to a second term in Manhattan. The elder Cuomo was too ill with a serious heart condition to attend.

“He couldn’t be here physically today … but my father is in this room,” Andrew Cuomo said in his inaugural address. …

Mario Matthew Cuomo was born on June 15, 1932, in Jamaica, Queens, the third and final child of immigrants from a small village near Naples, Italy. His parents, Andrea and Immaculata Cuomo, owned a family grocery store in South Jamaica during the Great Depression. …

A center fielder, Cuomo even signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization when he was 19. Cuomo was hitting .244 with one homer in 81 games in his one season in the Georgia-Florida League when he was beaned by a fastball. He was blinded for a week and never played professionally again.

He went home and enrolled at St. John’s University and then its law school, where he tied for first in his graduating class. In 1952 he married another St. John’s student, Matilda Raffa, a union that would last 62 years until his death. …

At age of 42, a relatively late start for a politician, Cuomo made his first run for office, losing the 1974 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. He entered government the following year when Gov. Hugh Carey named him secretary of state. …

Cuomo was elected lieutenant governor in 1978 as Carey’s running mate. In 1982 he got some revenge against Koch, beating him in the Democratic primary for governor, and then winning the general election to become the state’s 52nd governor.

Cuomo was reelected in 1986 and 1990 by towering margins, with his son Andrew emerging as his most trusted adviser.

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