‘She was a special lady,’ governor says in recalling Teresa Martillotta

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Crane – Teresa Martillotta greets Andrew Cuomo at a function in this photo from 2001. Martillotta was well known by influential Democrats in the state.

ALBION – Teresa Martillotta was a popular person in the leading circles of the state’s Democratic Party for the past half century.

She was beloved for her sense of humor and spunk.

“She had a personality that was bigger than life,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about Martillotta, who died at age 87 on May 23. “She was a special lady with a great energy and a great heart.”

Cuomo spoke about Martillotta today while he was in Batavia. Lieutenant Gov. Robert Duffy attended Martillotta’s calling hours yesterday at Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes.

Martillotta was a committee member of the state Democratic Party for more than 50 years. In that role she hobnobbed with party leaders and candidates. At her home in Albion she had photos of herself with some of the state’s most prominent Democrats the past two generations, including Cuomo, his father and former governor Mario Cuomo, Geraldine Ferrarro, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and many others.

“She was a people-person and a dedicated Democrat,” said Jeanne Crane, the Orleans County Democratic Party chairwoman. “She loved the camaraderie and interaction with people.”

Martillotta lived locally all of her life. She retired as executive housekeeper at the Orleans County Nursing Home. She enjoyed the parties and functions with the big-name Democrats, Crane said.

But Martillotta was also a loyal and hard-working Democrat in Orleans County, where Republicans have a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage and fill nearly every elected position at the town and county levels.

“She was such a dedicated Democrat,” Crane said. “She was always supporting.”

Martillotta often had the political shows on television when Crane visited her home.

When Martillotta was at hospice in recent weeks, she asked Crane about this November’s elections. She wanted to know who was running for the Democrats.

Crane traveled with Martillotta to many of the state events. Martillotta was treated like a star.

“She took command of a room when she walked in,” Crane said.