Before the start of the 2018 PRLL Spring Season, PRLL lost 3 important figures in its history, Bob Vitale, George Doonan and John Taylor. We respectfully remember them here.
(photo left: George and Bob at the 2015 Kayser-Brady Tournament)
Bob Vitale, a key PRLL volunteer for over 25 years, passed away on Monday, January 15, after a two-year battle with cancer. The right-hand man to six PRLL presidents, Bob was also instrumental in the formation and 14-year success of the Kayser-Brady Tournament, hosted by PRLL each July.
Bob is the second huge loss to the League in four months, with George Doonan having passed last September. They are pictured together in the photo on the left, taken at the 2015 Kayser-Brady Tournament.
George, of course, was the beloved VOICE OF PEARL RIVER LITTLE LEAGUE. He gave almost 60 years of service to the Little League, as an umpire in the Van Nest (Bronx), Haverstraw and Pearl River Little Leagues, and then as the perennial announcer and scorekeeper on Bocket Field, for both PRLL and the Kayser-Brady Tournament.
On Opening Day, 2018, the dugouts on Bocket Field were dedicated to the memories of Bob Vitale (first base dugout) and George Doonan (third base dugout). - Use this link to see Photos (password is PRLL2018).
Bob Vitale: 30 Years of Service - and gone too soon
Robert (Bob) Vitale, long-time volunteer, passed away on Monday, January 15, 2018, days after his 68th birthday, following a two-year battle with cancer.
Bob started coaching in the AAA Division (when it was a 7-8 division, and before PRLL had tee-ball) in 1986. In 1991, Tom Fennell recruited Bob for the Board of Directors (thank you, Tom), and for the next two decades plus, Bob had a profound influence on the growth and success of Pearl River Little League.
In 1993, John Castelli became PRLL’s seventh League President, and firmly believed that the League should be run as a small business would, and he took steps to improve record-keeping and communications. He enlisted Bob, who was a computer enthusiast and network administrator, to revamp the registration process and automate registration forms, team rosters and all league information. Bob established a computerized database that simplified paperwork at all levels. Had this step not been taken, the league would have been ill-equipped to deal with the enrollment explosion that would take place later in the decade. Led by John and Bob, PRLL erased a $30,000 deficit that had the league in peril.
Bob served as league vice-president for many years. He was never interested in becoming president, but John Castelli and the next five PRLL presidents leaned heavily upon Bob's expertise and judgment. Each one only accepted the position on the condition that Bob would be around to serve as right-hand man. It was Bob's organizational skills that permitted PRLL, in the late 1990's, to add tee-ball, Junior League and Senior League divisions, swelling the league's enrollment at one point to over 1300 children.
Bob supported John Taylor in the quest to light two of the fields at Anderson Fields. He designed the official PRLL league pin, as well as its replacement in 2013. He spearheaded the naming of playing fields after Robert McKiernan, Billy Kayser and Alicia Brady, all former PRLL players who had met tragic ends. Seeing that the "Hopper" (concession stand) had no counterpart near McCarthy Field (the major girls field at the other end of the complex), Bob proposed and enlisted volunteers to build the "Coffey House" (named after early PRLL president Tom Coffey). After the traumatic loss of Billy Kayser in 2003, Bob and Anthony DiGiovanni were the first to propose a memorial tournament in the player's name. That, of course, became the county-wide Kayser-Brady Tournament which will be held for the 15th time this summer. Bob has served on the Tournament Committee since its inception. Even during his difficult illness, he played a key role in the yearly planning of the Tournament, and, after a one-year absence, returned to his role of MC of the closing ceremonies in 2017. For Bob and others, the Tournament was a true labor of love.
Pearl River Little League and the Kayser-Brady Tournament are truly grateful for Bob Vitale's life. His impact was undeniable, as is our acute sense of loss.
Obituary of Robert Vitale
Robert Nicholas Vitale, of Pearl River, NY, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Monday, January 15, 2018 at the age of 68.
Robert, known to his beloved friends as "Bob" was born on January 10, 1950 in the Bronx, NY to parents Vito and Irene Vitale. On September 22, 1973 he married the love of his life, Roseann. He was a loving father to his son Robert Jr. and his wife Nicole; and to his son Stephen and his wife Meghan. Robert was an especially proud and loving grandfather to his granddaughters Layla, Everly, and Ashley. He is survived by his sister Valerie Vitale; brother Joseph Vitale and wife Carleen and their daughters Danielle and Nicole.
Graduating from the Academy of Aeronautics in 1973 in Queens, NY, he then had a 35-year career as a Senior Electrical Technical and Network Administrator with Con Edison, the New York Power Authority and Entergy. His lifelong love of baseball and the New York Yankees led him to serve his community through the Pearl River Little League, especially the Kayser-Brady Memorial Tournament, which held a special place in his heart. Family and friends may call Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 7 to 9 PM, and Friday, January 19, 2018, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM at Joseph W. Sorce Funeral Home, Inc.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM in St. Aedan's Church, Pearl River. Interment will be in St. Anthony's Cemetery, Nanuet. JOSEPH W. SORCE F.H., INC. 728 West Nyack Road West Nyack, NY 10994 (845) 358-4433, www.sorcefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you make a donation to United Hospice of Rockland (845) 634-4974 11 Stokum Lane, New City, NY 10956.
Goodbye, George, and Thank You
GEORGE DOONAN, the long-time "Voice of Pearl River Little League" passed away on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. A truly humble gentleman who gave of himself quietly and without ever seeking credit, George served Little League youth for decades as an umpire, and then as an announcer. He will be genuinely and sorely missed. We are thankful that we had the honor of knowing him. Rest in peace, George.
In Memory of
George G. Doonan
February 18, 1941 - September 13, 2017
George Gerard Doonan, age 76, entered into eternal rest on September 13th, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was born and raised in Bronx, NY by his parents Patrick and Kathleen Doonan and attended St Ansclms grammar school and Benjamin Franklin High School. He volunteered as a fireman before entering into the New York Police Department, where he served for 30 years with the 45th precinct and Bronx Task Force. After his retirement, he served at the Dominican Convent of Sparkill for 20 years, where he drove the sisters to and from appointments. His passion for baseball was evident thru his whole life. While working for the NYPD, he served at Yankee Stadium during the summers where he befriended numerous players and even chauffeured Mr. Steinbrenner for years. He was active in little league baseball in the Bronx and in Rockland County for over 50 years. His memorable voice earned him the title "The Voice of Pearl River Little League" for his volunteer work as the announcer at all of the games. He was known by his service to others, his Catholic faith, his great sense of humor, and his love for his family. He is survived by his loving wife, Judith Doonan, his children Debra Doonan, Patricia (Jon) Forsberg, Barbara (Tony) Caprara, Stepson Joseph (Nicole) Maiz, Stepdaughter Susan (Eric) Scheck, Brother Bill Doonan, Sister-in-law Carol Korfanta, Brother-in-law Richard (Mary-Jean) Araldi, nine beautiful grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is predeceased by his Parents Patrick and Kathleen Doonan, his Brother Thomas Doonan, and Sister-in-law Terri Ann Araldi. He will be greatly missed by all. Viewing services will be held at Michael J. Higgins Funeral Service - 321 S Main St, New City, NY 10956 on Monday Sept 18th at 2-4pm and 7-9pm. A Catholic mass will be held on Tuesday, September 19th at Dominican Sisters of Sparkill - 175 Route 340 Sparkill, NY 10976 at 10:30am. A burial will follow at St. Anthony's Cemetery at 36 W Nyack Rd, Nanuet, NY 10954. Arrangements under the direction of Michael J. Higgins Funeral Service Inc., New City, NY.
ADDENDUM: ON DECEMBER 6, 2017, GEORGE DOONAN WAS INDUCTED, POSTHUMOUSLY, INTO THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DISTRICT 18 VOLUNTEER UMPIRE HALL OF FAME
------- THE ARTICLE BELOW ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON OUR PRLL WEBSITE IN 2008 ------
July 25, 2008
PEARL RIVER LITTLE LEAGUE: News: George Doonan: Fifty Years of Service
Pearl River Little League would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. George Doonan as he marks his fiftieth year of service to little leaguers in New York State. He began as an umpire in the Van Nest Little League in the Bronx, and umpired in many venues, both in the regular season and in Little League tournament play. He earned an outstanding reputation as a highly qualified and fair official. It was the good fortune of Pearl River Little League when George relocated to Rockland County and donated his services to the league. When, after many years, he finally hung up his chest protector and mask in the late 1990's, George continued to donate his time and services to PRLL as an announcer. He brought the same quality and dedication to his new duties as has had done as an umpire, and soon became a favorite part of the game for players and fans. He earned the respectful moniker of "Voice of Pearl River Little League". His work during the Kayser-Brady Tournament, held in July of the past five years, has earned him the admiration and respect of a new generation of managers, parents and players around the County and beyond. Pearl River Little League is truly fortunate to have George as a volunteer and friend.
The second photo above is of George as a young umpire in the Van Nest (Bronx) Little League.
(see other George Doonan photos at https://prll2017.shutterfly.com/pictures/1310 ) - if a password is prompted, enter "PRLL2017".
Former PRLL President John Taylor
John Taylor, the eighth President of Pearl River Little League (1997-99), passed away on March 6, 2018 due to a long-standing respiratory disease. He was a true gentleman and was respected by all his peers.
John came to Pearl River from Manhattan in 1978. His 2 children later played in PRLL, and John became a softball coach. John was a Professional Engineer, and had designed the lighting for numerous ball field facilities in Rockland, including Rockland Community College, Zukor Park, Veterans Park, Germonds Park, and Lake Nanuet. In 1996, then-president John Castelli enlisted Mr. Taylor's assistance in making the dream of field lights on Anderson Field a reality. Between John Castelli’s vision and John Taylor’s expertise, the mission was accomplished, and they jointly threw the switch in April, 1998.
John C. Taylor
(January 19, 1952 - March 6, 2018)
John C. Taylor Of Old Tappan, NJ formerly of Pearl River, NY passed away on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. John was born in New York City to Richard and Agnes (Callahan) Taylor. Locally, he was a former coach for the Pearl River Little League and a member of the Board. He also coached basketball for St. Aedan in Pearl River. John was an avid New York Yankee fan. He is survived by his wife, Noreen; son, Brian Patrick and daughter, Sheila Anne; brothers, Richard and Thomas; sisters, Mary Ellen and Elizabeth; brother-in-law John and many nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10:00 am Saturday at St. Margaret R.C.Church, Pearl River. Burial will follow at St. Anthony Cemetery, Nanuet, NY. Visiting is Friday March 9th from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 pm at Wyman-Fisher Funeral Home Inc. Friends may send memorial donations to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.