By Geri Corey
The first two words most often used by those who knew him to describe Michael “Mike” Nuzzolese are “nice guy.” But there’s so much more to add to fully describe, know, and appreciate this Goshenite, whose love of his hometown, family and friends was boundless.
Michael Dominic Nuzzolese, 66, passed away on Saturday, March 13, 2021, leaving a saddened family and community. When he died, he was serving as mayor of the Village of Goshen.
Born in the local Goshen Emergency Hospital on Sept. 15, 1954, Mike lived his entire life in Goshen, working for the betterment of the community that he loved so much. Being mayor was the culmination of his service to the Village of Goshen.
He worked for the Department of Public Works for many years, before assuming the position of Superintendent of Public Works that he held until his retirement. At that time he joined the Village Board as a trustee, and when then-Mayor Kyle Roddey resigned, Mike proudly assumed the mayoral seat.
‘Heart and soul’
“Mike put his heart and soul into the Village of Goshen — as a citizen, part of the DPW, and has a board member,” said Trustee Peter Smith, who has known Mike his entire life. “We’ve always been friends, born in the same hospital, grew up together, know each other’s siblings, our parents were friends. We were fishing buddies, and Mike even helped me move into my first home by trucking furniture and fixing up the house. He was always ready to help.”
Said Board Trustee Daniel Henderson: “Mike was kind and compassionate. As mayor he was a great asset to Goshen. Everything he did was in the best interest of Goshen and Goshen residents. He loved the Village of Goshen and everything about it. He will be sorely missed.”
Long-time friend and former mayor of the Village of Goshen Marcia Mattheus spent a great deal of time with Mike, working with him while she was on the Village Board serving as water commissioner, sewer commissioner and then as mayor.
“We’d take rides together through the village to see what needed to be done,” she said, adding, “As mayor at that time it was an honor working with him. He had a wonderful way of relating to people and making them aware of his devotion to the Goshen community.”
‘Always there when needed’
Working together with Nuzzolese on various Goshen projects, like for the Joint Recreation Commission, Town of Goshen Supervisor Doug Bloomfield gave him high marks as a person and a worker.
“Mike was a nice person,” Bloomfield said. “You could almost say a sweet person. He was always nice to deal with, like on town/village projects, some at the Myron Urbanski Memorial Park and sometimes on roadwork that needed to be done, with the town and village sharing equipment. He’s going to be missed.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus echoed the supervisor’s comments: “I enjoyed working with Mike who was a sweet and kind person. Mike will be missed for his hard work, compassion and commitment to the residents of Goshen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
“Mike sure was well liked — he definitely will be missed. He was so dedicated to Goshen, spending his whole life working here. He knew Goshen so well—even where all the pipes are buried in Goshen!” said Village Historian Edward Connor. “I’m going to miss him; he was so easy to work with. It will be so sad not to see him around the village.”
“It would be hard to put into words, another contemporary who has had more of an impact on Goshen than Mike,” said Trustee Smith, explaining that Mike couldn’t sleep if there was a storm, checking on the roads, often up at the crack of dawn to work alongside his crew.
“He was the salt of the earth—always there when needed. We can’t repay him for all he’s done,” Smith added.
“Mike certainly was hard-working,” said Trustee Christopher Gurda. “His work ethic is admirable - he kept working as long as he could. He was always positive, and he always had a nice big smile on his face. He will be sorely missed.”
Family. Friend. Public servant
Equally dear to Mike was his family—he loved his wife, Alice; his mother, Josephine; his three children, Jeremy, Dayle and Morgan; his siblings, and high on the love list, his grandsons Daniel and James.
Said Smith: “Mike and I had this in common: we were pretty good parents, but when we became grandparents, it was complete adoration for our grandkids.”
For more than 40 years, Mike was an active member of the Dikeman Engine and Hose Company #3 of the Goshen Fire Department, serving in various positions, like driving the fire engines and as Extrication Officer.
“He was an exceptional leader and a teacher to younger members and an all-around excellent member,” said Tom Boxman, past chief of the Goshen Fire Department.
Speaking on a personal note, Boxman added: “Mike was my best friend. We’ve been friends for over 40-years, experiencing ups and downs within our families and we supported each other through them. He’s one of the best men that I know. I’ll forever miss him. His family, friends and the Village of Goshen lost an irreplaceable person.”
Henderson, too, added; “Mike was a great family man, and a great friend to all who knew him. As a board member, it was a pleasure working directly with him. As a retired police officer, it was a pleasure working with Mike all those years.”
Trustee Anthony Scotto tenderly expressed his thoughts on Mike’s passing.
“I’m lucky to have been friends with Mike who always made my wife Kelly and me feel like family. Mike’s passion for cooking, family, history, and all things Goshen were things he shared with me and he was the driving force behind my joining the Village Board. Kelly and I already miss him.”
“Mike (Nuzzolese) was my best friend. We’ve been friends for over 40-years, experiencing ups and downs within our families and we supported each other through them. He’s one of the best men that I know. I’ll forever miss him. His family, friends and the Village of Goshen lost an irreplaceable person.”
Tom Boxman, past chief of the Goshen Fire Department