Kenneth Marino, 56, Little Italy activist and Republican leader


By Albert Amateau

Kenneth Marino, a lifelong resident of Mulberry St. in Little Italy and one of the founders of Figli Di San Gennaro, operator of the San Gennaro Festival in recent years, died unexpectedly Fri., June 24, after a heart valve replacement. He was 56.

A true son of Little Italy, he was born Dec. 9, 1955, to Nicholas and Lucille Marino of 123 Mulberry St. He graduated from the Church of the Transfiguration elementary school on Mott St. in Chinatown and went on to Seward Park High School on Grand St.

Active in Democratic Party affairs in Lower Manhattan in the 1970s, he worked for Ebasco Services, the electric power company in Lower Manhattan, and then for the New York City Board of Elections.

He was a close and lifelong friend of Little Italy activists John Fratta and Anne Compoccia, who died at age 62 in February.

“He grew disenchanted with the Democratic Party in the late 1980s and went on to become the Republican district leader,” said Fratta.

“When [Mayor] Rudy Giuliani removed the Society [of San Gennaro] from the San Gennaro Feast, Kenny and Anne stepped up and formed Figli Di San Gennaro and got the mayor to restructure a new board to run the feast,” said Fratta, recalling the 1996 reform of the festival.

Kenneth Moreno was also instrumental, with Compoccia and Fratta, in organizing the Mulberry St. Mall in 1995 to preserve businesses in Little Italy. He was also a member of the parish council of the Church of the Most Precious Blood on Baxter St. and vice president of the Little Italy Restoration Association.

His mother, Lucille Marino, his sister, Cynthia Garcia, and his niece, Melissa Garcia, survive.

The funeral was at the Church of the Most Precious Blood on June 30 and burial was in St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.

Perazzo Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.