Frank Zampatori, the Very Best Neighbor
Frank Zampatori, long time Hill East resident and Democratic activist, died on April 15, 2013 after a struggle with health problems. Zampatori was deeply engaged in DC politics going back to the late 1970s and early ‘80s with an early association with the Gertrude Stein Club. He was elected to the Democratic State Committee during Marion Barry’s years as Mayor and served a stint on the ABC board. Zampatori, whom many affectionately describe as curmudgeonly, carved out a place for himself in the Capitol Hill community with his passion and interest in politics and civic affairs. David Meadows, an aide to Councilmember Anita Bonds offered this comment about Zampatori: “He had a biting wit and sometimes a bite.”
Jim Myers, an equally notable Hill East resident and long time compatriot of Zampatori, wrote of the community’s loss on the Hill East listserve. “No one, no one could or ever would match Frank’s experience or institutional memory on the subject of District politics or on the long standing issues in our neighborhood. He knew and remembered who did what and when--the exact date--and for that reason he often found it difficult to deal with the rest of us who too often easily forgot the important details he remembered so vividly. Our city and our neighborhood will surely go on, but for a few of us it surely will never be quite the same.”
Antonette Russell, a former ANC Commissioner from the Hill East area and currently serving in ANC5C01, said that “Frank was my best friend, part of our family. He was the most compassionate man I have ever known. I talked with Frank every day.”
Brian Flahaven, currently Chair of ANC6B talked, as did almost everyone who knew him, about Zampatori’s passionate advocacy for the Hill East neighborhood. “He knew more about the neighborhood than anyone. He had a great institutional memory. But his big issue was Reservation 13.” Asked why Reservation 13 was so important to him, Flahaven responded that Zampatori worried about “the future of this undeveloped tract that is such a huge issue and its possible benefit to the Hill East neighborhood. This animated him.”
Zampatori lived adjacent to the site and was well versed in all the details emanating from the Master Plan that was laid out for its development in the 1990s of which he had been a vital part in the planning, but which has not been executed.
Sheila White, another long time political friend, when asked about what was enduring in knowing Zampatori on a personal level, stated unhesitatingly: “He was a diehard New York Giants and Yankees fan. He was passionate in what he believed in. No matter what.”
Frank is survived by a brother, Guy Zampatori and a sister-in- law Jo Ann. His parents Frank and Viola preceded him in death. Zampatori was born in Rochester, New York on September 26, 1944. He attended Niagara University, graduating in 1966 and then entered the Navy for two years serving in Hawaii during the Vietnam War under Admiral McClain, doing photo reconnaissance work before coming to Washington in the early 1970s. He earned a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University in 1973. Zampatori was retired from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a joint federal-state agency that coordinated economic development programs for the nation’s Appalachian region.