Wallingford Town Hall auditorium renamed in honor of longtime Town Councilor Robert Parisi

Wallingford Town Hall auditorium renamed in honor of longtime Town Councilor Robert Parisi


WALLINGFORD — The auditorium at Town Hall will be renamed the Robert F. Parisi Town Council Chambers, in honor of the longtime councilor who stepped down Tuesday night.

Parisi, a Republican who served nearly four decades, appeared overcome with emotion many times at his last meeting as other members of the Town Council spoke.

“I hope you will remember this is not only your last night looking out into what is known as the Robert Early Auditorium, but it is our last night looking out into what is known as the Robert Earley Auditorium,” Town Council Vice Chairman Tom Laffin said before making a motion to rename the auditorium.

The councilors, as well as the room full of Parisi’s friends, family, and colleagues, stood up and applauded. Parisi remained seated, wiping his eyes.

Town Council Chairman Vincent Cervoni said that the idea to rename the auditorium came about five weeks ago.

“We do think his legacy is significant,” he said. “His being on the council for such an extended period of time had a lot to do with shaping Wallingford the way it is today.”

Cervoni called Parisi a “supporter and a role model.”

“Wallingford has been blessed by your service and the town continues to be great,” he said.

Town Clerk Barbara Thompson said she considered Parisi a mentor and a friend.

“You were my boss for a long time,” Thompson said. “... You are Mr. Wallingford.”

Councilor John LeTourneau said he has learned a lot from Parisi and added he believes he will see Parisi in the audience in the future.

Councilor Christine Mansfield called Parisi “iconic.”

“... That passion knows no boundaries, particularly when it meant bringing someone’s voice to the table,”” Mansfield said at the meeting.

Councilor Craig Fishbein read a poem about Parisi, who he considered “wordly and wise” and “more than just a politician.”

Councilor John Sullivan pulled out a magic 8-ball at the meeting and jokingly said it was a tool Parisi used to make decisions.

“How did you always know what is in the best interest of Wallingford? It’s the magic 8-ball,” Sullivan said to the laughter of the audience.

Councilor Larry Russo said Parisi is an inspiration and spoke about his desire to “do what’s best for Wallingford.”

Councilor Vincent Testa, who served with Parisi in the past, said he appreciated the encouragement and support he received, despite being on the opposing political parties. Testa is a Democrat.

“I just remember the encouragement you provided,” Testa said. “... You always did what was right. That means a lot and meant a lot.”

State Rep. Al Aldinolfi and State Sen. Len Fasano also honored Parisi at the meeting on Tuesday. Aldinolfi read a proclamation from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Fasano read a General Assembly citation from the Wallingford delegation, including Fasano, State Rep. Vincent Candelora, Aldinolfi, and State Reps. Mary Mushinsky and Mary Fritz.

Parisi was surprised at the honor.

“All of you are just the best and this is what makes the town so good. Thank you,” he said as he fought back tears.

At his final meeting as a town councilor, Parisi held the gavel as he did for many years as chairman. For one last time, he made a motion to adjourn.

“Seconded. Any opposed?” he said before slamming down the gavel. “The meeting is adjourned.”

Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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