Honoring Angelo Martinelli, who started it all

By Rob Martinelli 
Publisher

Angelo Martinelli, the chairman of the board of Today Media, the parent company of Delaware Business Times, passed away on Oct. 27 at the age of 91.

Angelo was a devoted family man and hard-working entrepreneur who started his business career with the printing company Gazette Press in 1945, which he grew to become the largest printing company in Westchester County, New York. He was a visionary who diversified into the regional magazine business by starting Hudson Valley magazine in 1975.

Gazette Press was printing Delaware Today for the previous owners when Angelo heard that it was for sale. He asked me in 1981 to go to Delaware to do some due diligence on this potential acquisition. I was newly admitted to the New York Bar and prepared the report. When he purchased the magazine, he told me, “Since you know more about it than anyone, why not go down there and run it for me?”

Thirty-seven years later, I’m still running Delaware Today and now Delaware Business Times, thankful that he had faith in a 27-year old to give me this great opportunity.

With my two brothers Ralph and Rich, we are now a second-generation family business with members of the third generation working in it as well. My dad stayed involved as chairman of the board, and he remained a force even up to our last board meeting in August. He saw the opportunities and was always there with encouragement. He could also be tough if he saw things going astray.

I know Dad was proud to see his sons grow the company to become one of the largest regional media companies in the country. In addition to Hudson Valley and Delaware Today, Today Media now includes Westchester Magazine, Main Line Today, The Hunt, Delaware Business Times, Delaware Valley Italian American Herald and a robust custom communications division.

He was thrilled to see that from the printing company roots, we were managing the transition to the digital age by sharing our work not just with print readers, but an online audience of millions. He was always excited to attend some of the more than 50 events our company produces each year, and particularly enjoyed the “Best of … ” events.

The family business was only a small part of my dad’s accomplishments.

He entered the world of politics in the early 1970s and was elected mayor of Yonkers, New York, six times. He is most remembered for his principled stand leading the city through the early tumult of the desegregation crisis featured in the HBO mini-series “Show Me A Hero,” where he was played by his future friend, Jim Belushi. He lost an election doing what he thought right, but earned the growing respect of the community.

After he left City Hall, he was a ceaseless promoter of his beloved Yonkers, serving as chairman of the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce, the Queen’s Daughters Day Care Center and the Police Athletic League of Yonkers. Dad was a key board member of Hudson Valley Bank, St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy.

Angelo Martinelli touched the lives of countless people.

I learned this firsthand by talking to people from all walks of life who stood in line to pay their respects at the wake. When I asked how they knew my father, many said, “He helped me.” He helped them get a job, run for office, keep their house, raise money for their charity and much more.

He will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.

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