Lee Covino

Lee S. Covino

1951 - 2024

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Lee Covino




Lee Covino, a U.S. Army veteran who served three borough presidents and many other elected officials and was a leading voice in advocating for veterans on Staten Island and nationally, has passed away at age 72.


The name Lee Covino is synonymous with service to country and community.


Lee Covino served in the US Army veteran from 1970-71 during the Viet Nam War.  He became an advocate for veterans’ affairs as a peer counselor while attending the College of Staten Island on the GI Bill from 1973-1977.  From 1980-1984, he worked as an intervention counselor for the VA’s Vietnam Veterans Outreach Center in Brooklyn and Staten Island, assisting close to 1,000 Vietnam era and combat vets. 


In July 1990, he was appointed to the cabinet of Staten Island Borough President Guy V. Molinari, where he served as the Veterans Affairs Advisor and Director of Contracts & Procurement. He continued his tenure in the administration of Borough President James P. Molinaro, and with Borough President James S. Oddo, until his retirement in March, 2014.  In May 2002, Covino was appointed to the City’s Veterans Advisory Board by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.  He was re-appointed to the board by the Mayor in 2007 and in 2012, ending his term as Vice-Chairman of the Board in April, 2015. 


Lee was active in supporting public officials who supported U.S. veterans. Many generations of Staten Island elected officials sought his counsel and advice on veterans and community issues.


Over the years, Lee had played a major role in bringing the Vet Center and the VA Clinic to Staten Island, as well as in obtaining a Staten Island bus link to the VA Hospital in Brooklyn.  Working with the Borough Presidents, he helped coordinate annual Fleet Week activities, developed Operation Vet Care, which brought the VA’s outreach van to minority-based areas on Staten Island, Operation Vet Call, which assisted vets with resume development and job search through the State Department of Labor, and 

Operation Vet Link, which assisted veterans with learning basic computer skills through free courses donated by local business schools. 


Lee was a steadfast presence at public events supporting veterans causes. He always heeded a call-to-action on behalf of vets and indeed he led the charge many times over the years to oppose any budget cuts to programs designed to help vets. In addition, Lee testified and spoke up at public hearings on issues of importance to people in need, from senior housing to mass transportation to health and human services.


In his retirement, Lee played French Horn for the South Shore Band and Richmond County Orchestra. He enjoyed every moment with his grandchildren and continued to be actively involved in the community.


Lee was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Catholic War Veterans, AMVETS, the NYC Veterans Alliance and the 369th Veterans Association.  Covino also served as Treasurer of the United Staten Island Veterans’ Organization, Inc. (USIVO), an umbrella group of Staten Island veteran organizations which sponsor the annual Memorial Day Parade. He was to be inducted into the NYS Veterans Hall of Fame later this year.


Lee was installed into the CSI Alumni Hall of Fame in March, 1989.  In 2004, the College of Staten Island Archives catalogued a collection of veteran’s issues which Covino was involved in from 1973 – 1994. 


Lee Covino leaves behind a daughter Mariel and three grandchildren, Melina, Michael, and Samantha. His wife of 43 years, Catherine (nee Valuri), predeceased him in 2017.


A memorial service for Lee Covino will be announced shortly by the family.

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Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Father Capodanno Memorial Chapel
203 New York Ave.
Staten Island, New York, United States


Rosehill Crematory
355 East Linden Avenue
Linden, New Jersey, United States
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Lee Covino

In Loving Memory

Lee Covino

1951 - 2024

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