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Tompkins County Mourns the Death of Mental Health Commissioner Bob De Luca

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Tompkins County Mourns the Death of Mental Health Commissioner Bob De Luca

Monday, October 17, 2011
Tompkins County Mental Health Commissioner Robert De Luca, who has led the County's Mental Health Department for the past decade, died this weekend, after bravely battled significant health challenges over the past year.

"In spite of failing health, Bob's dedication to his job, his clients, his staff, and his community never faltered," County Administrator Joe Mareane noted in a message to County department heads, staff, and legislators. "As recently as two weeks ago, he represented his department at its legislative budget review---using his time to remind all of us of the importance of our programs in the lives of so many, and of his pride in living in a community that embraced quality mental health care.

"What Bob didn't talk about was the important role he has played in ensuring that people in need received the highest quality of care. Often we talk about how Tompkins County is a better, more humane and compassionate place to live than other locations. Bob was one of the reasons why. He was a very special person. He never let us forget about the people we are here to serve. He made a difference.

"Bob devoted his life to helping people in need. We will all miss Bob greatly."

Before joining County government, Mr. De Luca began his career as a coordinator of volunteer services for a prisoner rehabilitation organization and earned career advancements in Tioga and Broome counties before coming to Tompkins County as the Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health in 2001. He served as Interim Commissioner beginning in 2004 and was appointed Commissioner of Mental Health in 2005.

He received the New York State Mental Health Association's Esther Mallach Staff Leadership Award in 2000 and was recognized by the local mental health community in September for the enormous contributions he has made to the quality of mental health care. That award thanked Commissioner De Luca for his ongoing dedication and leadership--'for adding and enhancing services, building new collaborations to share resources, providing increased training and support for human services professionals, and the infrastructure to efficiently maximize services, and validating the work and accomplishments of service recipients, service providers, leaders, and many others in the community.