The Town of Wappinger is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Deputy Town Supervisor Helen Fuimarello on the morning of July 20, 2020. Supervisor Richard L. Thurston has directed flags at the Memorial Plaza in front of Wappinger Town Hall to be lowered to half-mast. Helen was a lifelong public servant to Wappinger, serving under some of the nation’s top legislative officials, she always made it her mission to help her community and her fellow residents.
A nurse by trade, Helen graduated from Jersey City Medical Center in 1958. This experience would later help her in a role she held for 38 years as both president and board member of Dutchess County’s Board of Health from 1969-1998. For almost 30 years she was the District Coordinator for Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr. and later worked under Congresswoman Sue Kelly and State Senator Steve Saland. Helen was tasked with representing Senator Saland at public functions throughout Dutchess County, presented awards to recipients and extend greetings at various functions, met with constituents at district office during office hours, coordinated deliveries of supplies and office equipment to Poughkeepsie District Office, managed day-to-day office functions, and handled casework for constituents.
Locally, Helen had served as both past President and board member of the Grinnell Library for 51 years, being a strong proponent to creating the Grinnell Public Library District. She was also a member of both the Town of Wappinger and Dutchess County Republican Committees for 50 years, and a member of the Board of Directors for Locust Grove National Historic Landmark for 14 years. Along with her close friend, Hudson River Valley philanthropist, Frances “Franny” Reese, they fought to preserve and save the Town of Wappinger owned estate, Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Wappinger under former Supervisor Barbara A. Gutzler.
In 2017, the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger named Helen the Grand Marshal of the Wappinger Community Day Parade. In 2019, Supervisor Richard L. Thurston and the Wappinger Town Board recognized her with a “Key to the Town”. Helen was affectionately known as the “Mayor of the Wheeler Hill Historic District” and the “Matriarch of the Town of Wappinger” by many of her friends and neighbors.
Helen served Wappinger and her country selflessly for over 5 decades and we are so appreciative of her great work. Her leadership, knowledge, advocacy, and friendship is unmatched and her passing will leave a hole in our community for years to come. On behalf of Supervisor Richard L. Thurston, Senior Councilman William H. Beale, Councilwoman Angela Bettina, Councilman Christopher Phillips, Councilman Al Casella, Town Clerk Joseph P. Paoloni, Superintendent of Highways Michael J. Sheehan, Town Justice Carl Wolfson, Town Justice Heather Kitchen, County Legislator Joseph D. Cavaccini, County Legislator Lisa Paoloni, and all the officials and employees of the Town of Wappinger; rest in peace Helen, we thank you for being an inspiration to us all.