Oswego County's: Guide To Government

Ralph Shapiro

New York State Assembly 1974

Palladium Times Oswego - Fulton
Tuesday April 9th 1974

Assemblyman Shapiro Dies

Assemblyman Ralph Shapiro, 66, died at 6 pm Monday in Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse where he had been a patient since March 29th following two heart attacks. He retired as Mayor of Oswego in 1967 after serving four 2-year terms. He has been serving in Albany as Assemblyman from the 117th District since his election in February. Filling the vacancy made by Assemblyman Edward F. Crawford's resignation to become Supreme Court Justice. Mr. Shapiro was the first Democrat from Oswego County winning the State Legislative post.

The Assemblyman enroute home from his Albany duties on March 29th suffered the first of two heart attacks, a mild one and drove himself to Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse. After admitting himself, he suffered a massive heart attack in that hospital and was transferred to the Coronary Care Unit at Upstate Medical Center the same night. His condition had been critical since then.

Native of Oswego, son of Jacob and Fanny Rosenthal Shapiro, he attended the local schools and later Syracuse University Law School before returning home to open his own business, the Shapiro Paper Company, 19 E. Cayuga St. in 1929. He was a wholesale distributer of confectionary paper products until his retirement from the firm several years ago.

A staunch Democrat, he won the support of the Conservatives late last year when he successfully sought the Assembly seat, defeating Mexico weekly newspaper publisher and former county republican committee chairman Everet Backus, Mexico, and a write in candidate, Dr. Raymond S. Shaver, Fulton by nearly 900 votes. His district includes part of Rome and three towns in Oneida County in addition to Oswego County.

Mr. Shapiro, best known among his many friends and political colleagues as Ralph, considered the east side urban renewal project as one of his administration's major developments during his eight years as mayor. The Midtown Shopping Plaza, the Holiday Inn, the Marine Midland Bank and now under construction a 14 story high rise structure to replace three deteriorating business blocks in the UR project.

He sponsored a comprehensive street construction maintenance and repair program while mayor. Studies and planning under his leadership later resulted in the east side sewage treatment plant, a water filtration plant, a west side sewage plant and a number of youth programs.

The former mayor was equally active in the city's civic, fraternal and other organizations, being a charter and later life member of Operation Oswego, Inc., chapter chairman of the Oswego County Red Cross Chapter in 1952 and many years, a director of this national organization. He played an active role in bringing War Refugees to Oswego from European detention camps during World War II. He was actively identified with the national Jewish Welfare Board and the Anti - Defamation League, serving as County Chairman for both.

Since 1937, he had been a loyal supporter of the Greater Oswego Chamber of Commerce, Inc. constantly seeking its advice and opinion on civic matters and cooperated fully with the organization of any chamber sponsored programs relating to local, state and national affairs. He assisted greatly in Alcan's selection of it's Scriba site.

Elks Ruler

Exalted Ruler of Oswego Lodge 271, BPOE in 1941, he had long been an active member, taking keen interest in both local, state and national Elks programs. He was New York State District Deputy of BPOE in 1951. He was also a member of the local Loyal Order of the Moose and the Masonic Fraternity.

Surviving are his wife, the former Lillian Rosen of Utica: a daughter by a previous marriage, Mrs. Sidney (Linda) Weinstein of Rochester: three grandchildren, and a brother, City Chamberlain Maurice Shapiro of Fulton.

Services will be held at 1 pm Wednesday at the Congregation Adeth Israel, E. Oneida Street with burial in Riverside Cemetery.

Calling hours at the Dain Funeral Home, 122 E. Second Street will be 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm.

Memorial Service

An Elks Memorial Service will be held at 6:45 tonight at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the American Heart Fund in his memory.

A spokesman of the Oswego County Labor Council AFL-CIO today released a statement citing Mr. Shapiro's contributions as an Assemblyman. The Statement was:

"We deeply mourn the loss of our friend, The Honorable Ralph Shapiro. During his short term of office, he demonstrated his compassion for people and spoke out on the Assembly floor on behalf of our aging. His untimely death leaves a vacuum. The Central Body has appointed the following officers and labor leaders as honorary pall bearers: Martin Rose, Fred Horr, Vincent A. Corsall, Robert Bradshaw, Robert Parker, George Harrington, Lewis Leavens, Robert McManus, Loyal Simmons, Kenneth Thompson, David Lavery, Harold Thorpe, Bernard Shaddask, Franklin Warren and Joseph Chrimmius."


Chairman of the County Legislature Alvin Krakau, today issued a statement:

"It is with great sorrow that I learned of the death of Assemblyman Ralph Shapiro. In the short time that I dealt with Assemblyman Shapiro, he has provided prompt and courteous service to Oswego County. I join with all other municipal officers and all county residents in expressing my sympathy to his family. I will order all flags on all county buildings to fly and half staff, Wednesday, the day of Assemblyman Shapiro's funeral."

In a similar expression, Senator H. Douglas Barclay of Pulaski said:

"Ralph Shapiro was a man who showed a deep sense of devotion to public service. I was privileged to call him a friend. I wish to extend to his family my heart felt sympathy."

Special Session Needed

The Board of Elections Office discussed today that in accordance with the Public Officer's Law, Section 42, Subdivision 4, the cutoff date for a special election to fill the late Assemblyman's seat was April 1. Unless a special session of the State Legislature is called, and there is the possibility one might be called to deal with the reapportionment of New York City, there could be no special election to fill the now vacant seat. If the special session is called, they could vote to hold an election before the regular election in November.

No one could say it better than Percy E. Patrick himself. Percy E. Patrick Jr. Fulton Mayor, said this morning:

"The passing of Ralph Shapiro comes as a shock and a great loss. He was a fine human being. In the many years that I have known him as a public official, a businessman and a loyal friend, I saw him as a dedicated, honest and extremely able man who loved his community and the people he served. He was my guide and teacher when I entered political life and I shall miss him very much. We were lucky to have him with us in our County. His accomplishments in the City of Oswego and as our Assemblyman will endure and help us to remember him with respect and with admiration."

Special Election - February 14th, 1974

Ralph Shapiro (Democrat-Conservative)..................8,143
Everett Backus (Republican) ......................................7,271