Tribute to Ernie Di Pietro from Judy Villa, Chair - Cheshire Democratic Town Committee
Cheshire is reeling from the shocking news that Ernest Di Pietro has passed away suddenly. For all of us on Cheshire Democratic Town Committee who worked with him for years, this loss is immeasurable. These days, most people are disheartened or angry with politics; for all those who have committed themselves to activism, it seems just as many have turned away. Ernie took the long view, having been involved in local political and state processes for over forty years. In May of 2012, the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee honored him with an engraved gavel recognizing his twenty years as Chairman of the organization. In a few weeks he would have marked twenty-five years as Democratic Town Chair. He believed in the democratic paradigm and in Democratic values.
Content not to be a candidate for office himself, he was totally dedicated to recruiting excellent candidates for local and state elected positions. Ernie had great respect for those who volunteered to stand for election and serve selflessly as well as for members of the Town Committee who worked on campaigns year after year. He was thrilled when the Democrats took the majority on the Town Council in 2001. Beyond Cheshire, Ernie was a trusted colleague of Meriden, Wallingford, Hamden, Southington, Prospect, and Bethany Town Committee Chairpersons. His unflagging service to the Party brought Senators Murphy and Blumenthal, Congresswoman Esty, Lieutenant Governor Wyman, and other dignitaries to local events over and over—not just to campaign but because they felt a connection to the Town Committee under his leadership. We teased him for eschewing email communication but knew he would immediately call anyone who contacted him—even up until 11:00 p.m. That was a hallmark of his dedication, and people appreciated that.
Cheshire has lost a passionate Democrat. More than that, we have lost a person who worked constantly in service to others. His devotion to veterans was evident as a VFW Commander, especially his organization of Memorial Day parades and remembrance ceremonies. He was one of the hardest-working members of Kiwanis for many years. As an middle school teacher and also adjunct professor of economics, he took great pleasure in student successes. We too were his students, in a manner of speaking. We were colleagues in political activities who volunteered our considerable talents and sweat to candidates and causes. He helped us to persist even when our efforts were not rewarded. He reminded us of our strength of purpose and the power of our diversity. He chuckled at Will Rogers’ famous quote, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat,” but his decades of guidance and leadership kept us a strong organization. We owe him a great deal.