By Nadine Cafaro
Romeo Zaccone has been all over the world. He’s even hung out with one of the biggest stars in Hollywood while in a Fiji hospital. But now he calls Montgomery his home.
Zaccone, who has seen a lot in his 100 years, is the Town of Montgomery’s January citizen of the month.
Last Tuesday at a town board meeting, Town Supervisor Ron Feller handed Zaccone a Citizen of the Month plaque as well as a certificate of recognition for his community efforts.
“We appreciate and thank you for your outstanding service and commitment to the Town of Montgomery community,” said Feller.
Zaccone happily accepted the award with family and locals in the audience supporting him. “1923-2023. 100 years. I can’t believe it,” said Zaccone, “My family’s here and I’m so glad to be honored.”
Zaccone’s history doesn’t start in Montgomery. In fact, he moved to the Montgomery area in 1994 but was born in Manhattan in 1923. Shortly after, he moved to Jackson Heights in Queens and later to College Point, where he resided for 36 years. In 1943, Zaccone started his service in the U.S. Army.
“I went into the service at 19 and was in from 1943 to 1946. I went to the Fiji Islands, the South Pacific and New Guinea. I was also in the Philippines,” said Zaccone.
Zaccone was in the army for three years and eight days. After, he worked for the motion picture industry for 40 years as a client contact. He mentions working for companies like Warner Bros. and Fox until he retired in 1988. Throughout his career, Zaccone met many movie stars, including “Gone with the Wind” star Olivia de Havilland. He recalls a hospital stay in Fiji where he met de Havilland, who was there from catching a fever while touring.
“She sent me an autographed photograph of her to my home here from Paris, France, where she was living. She said ‘It was very nice meeting you in Fiji,’” Zaccone says.
When Zaccone moved to Montgomery, he became involved in the community. Some of his notable roles are being a member of the Knights of Columbus, president of the Retired Men’s and Women’s Club of Orange County, Lector at Holy Name of Mary Church and a member of New Horizons Senior Club. He also participated in a Hudson Valley Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in 2016.
This past weekend, Zaccone had his birthday party at the senior center in Montgomery, mentioning that the original “Mr. Met” came from Citi Field to entertain. Village of Montgomery Mayor Stephen Brescia also presented him with an award from the village.
This June, Zaccone and his wife, Ann Zaccone will be married 75 years. He also has a son, Paul Zaccone and daughter-in-law Esther Zaccone, grandaughers Alison Zaccone and Elena Jordan, nephew Mark Jordan, and great grandchildren Lydia Carson and Abigail Jordan. He mentioned how excited his family was to be there and how thankful he was that they came.
“I’m glad to be here speaking to you people and I want to thank my family for coming to listen to me talk,” said Zaccone.
Nominations for citizen of the month can be sent to LRowley@townofmontgomery.com.