GLOVERSVILLE - Former Mayor Frank LaPorta died Friday at the Nathan Littauer Nursing Home after a long battle with an illness, said his brother Vincent LaPorta.
LaPorta - who served as mayor from 2002 to 2005 - had been in the nursing home since September of last year.
Vincent LaPorta talked Friday about the giving nature Frank LaPorta showed to his siblings, family and community.
"He was a great person who was very generous," Vincent said. "When they say he would take the shirt off his back for you that's literally what he would do for people."
Frank LaPorta was the oldest brother of five and was a retired employee of the Leader-Herald where he worked as a typesetter for many years.
Public officials said LaPorta was a valuable resource for the community.
Former Councilman-At-Large James Handy said when he served with LaPorta they both always tried to advocate for community events in the city, primarily with the start of Rail Fest.
"It's a great loss," Handy said. "Frank and I worked very closely together and we founded the Rail Fest. He is going to be and already has been sorely missed."
LaPorta also was known for his work and dedication to bring a Walmart Supercenter to the city.
After nine years of planning and LaPorta's initial announcement a Walmart Supercenter would come to the city, he was able to see the building as a VIP the night prior to the grand opening in August.
"People kept asking me when it was coming and it's finally here," LaPorta said at the time. "It looks great and I'm glad it's here and open."
Mayor Dayton King spoke Friday about LaPorta's role in the city
"He was a true gentleman and definitely cared about the people in our city," King said. "We thought he played a very important role in bringing the super Walmart to Gloversville so we dedicated the roundabout in his honor."
The traffic circle located at the intersection of South Kingsboro Avenue and Hales Mills Road Extension will be named LaPorta Circle in his honor.
Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said a sign will be put up at the site in LaPorta's honor once the winter ends.
"He was so pleased that [the city] would do something like that," Vincent said. "I wish he would have been around to see the sign."
In November, the Common Council also passed a formal resolution honoring LaPorta, who the city said "exercised tremendous vision and foresight in his tireless efforts to site the newly created Wal-Mart Supercenter within the city."
Councilwoman Robin Wentworth, who presented the resolution along with Ellen Anadio, said on Friday that LaPorta will be truly missed.
"I knew a lot about him and respected him tremendously," Wentworth said. "His visions and foresight for the city were tremendous and we are seeing the things come together now that started as his vision. He was a wonderful man."
Vincent LaPorta declined to talk about the specifics of his brother's illness.