Principal and Teacher
by Carl Gordon
Former Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District administrator Anthony Yeneralo died at Blake Medical Center, Bradenton, Florida, on November 21, 1998. He war 82 years old. He collapsed from cardiac arrest at his front door on November 11 and never regained consciousness, according to his wife, Mary.
Born in New York City, he was a graduate of Manhattan College and received a graduate degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. After retiring from the CHSD he and his wife moved to Florida in 1973. There, he was a member of the advisory committee of the District 4 County Commission, the Sheriff's Advisory Committee, and the League of Women Voters of Manatee County.
Jack Kilkelly, also a retired CHSD supervisor, wrote, "Many people will remember him as the popular principal of Kennedy High School in the '60s and '70s." He came to teach science at Mepham High School shortly after the end of World War II. At that time, Mepham served students in grades 9 through 12. Children came from the four component districts, plus a few from Wantagh and Seaford. He was among a group, including Sanford Calhoun, who were veterans returning from military service. He adapted well and soon became a very popular science teacher, specializing in physics.
"Faculty members were expected to be involved in extra-curricular activities, ranging from ticket-taking at events to clubs," Kilkelly continued. "I remember working with him on the Public Address Club. We were particularly busy doing the announcing during the wrestling season, when Coach Sprig Gardner produced enough wrestlers to wrestle two opposing teams in the same week.
"As a student," Mr. Kilkelly continued, "my class in 1949 considered ourselves very lucky to have him agree to be our class advisor. We had a great senior year.
"Many of the Mepham staff worked at Jones Beach during summers. On any given evening, you could probably find Tony announcing at a softball game under the lights.
"When the junior high schools were opened to accommodate the growing school population, Mr. Yeneralo became the first principal of the Jerusalem Avenue Junior High School in the mid '50s. When I returned to civilian life in the late '50s, I had the pleasure of working for him.
"District Principal Sanford Calhoun and the school board thought well enough of him that they chose him to be the first principal of the new Calhoun High School.
"Community growth required the building of a third senior high school.
Again, Mr. Yeneralo was selected for the task of starting up a brand new school, Kennedy. The standards and expectations that led to excellence were started during his years and have been carried on by staff and administration since his retirement in the early '70s.
"Tony's first wife died quite young. Several years later, he married Mary Ford, who also had been an administrator in the school district. They moved from a house on the water in Freeport to Florida."
Former CHSD staff member Jack Klein, who taught chemistry and physics at Calhoun High School when Mr. Yeneralo was principal, and was a guidance counselor at Kennedy High School with the same principal, wrote:
"Tony was an excellent physics teacher and guidance counselor before becoming principal and did a fantastic job in opening three schools in the district.
"He was an outstanding administrator, beloved by the students and staff for his understanding, patience, and dedication. He was a warm, gentle person, always fair in dealing with students and teachers and exhibited a quiet leadership by the example he set."
In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters, Jayne Rudge of Bradenton, Lorraine Angelo of Westbury, and Mary Ellen Fisher of Baldwin, Missouri, a son, William of Webster, New York, and eight grandchildren.
His cremated remains are buried at the St. Francis Memorial Garden at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Hospice of Southwest Florida, 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida, 34238.
Reprinted from Bellmore Life, January 20, 1999