Friday, January 24, 2014

Sad News, Roosevelt Island Resident And Former RIOC Board Member Mark Ponton Died Sunday January 12 - Condolences To His Family And Friends

Image From the Main Street WIRE

Roosevelt Island resident and former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board member Mark Ponton died on Sunday, January 12.

Mr. Ponton's Family and Friends remember him:
Mark Ponton, a resident of Roosevelt Island since 1976, passed away on Sunday night January 12. He is survived by his daughter Christine. Mark attended Providence College on a basketball scholarship and later became an executive at IBM, Citibank, European American bank, and eventually started his own consulting firm which he headquartered right here on the Island. In spite of his busy schedule he found time to give back to the community, serving on the RIOC Board of Directors from 2002-2008. Mark has been described as a force of nature, from his physical stature (he was 6’10”) to his larger-than-life personality. While on the RIOC Board he was outspoken, tenacious and always a thousand percent supportive of the residents. Mark accomplished many things while on the Board, but he’ll probably best be remembered for getting Southpoint Park opened to the public in April, 2003. Prior to that time, the park, with its amazing views and open spaces, had been fenced off to the community for decades.

Because of his intelligence, sense of humor, and quick wit he had an uncanny ability to look at a situation, sum it up in a few sentences and present it back wrapped up in a clever package that at times could be downright hilarious. Mark was also a world traveler, a gourmet cook, an avid reader, and an all-around interesting person. He had a natural curiosity about how things worked and would read technical manuals just for fun. He had an impressive art collection, and was especially fond of Hudson River School paintings. Mark was also a devoted animal lover who could spend hours playing with his daughter’s Basset Hound, Digger. He’ll be sorely missed by his family and friends.
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy added:
I am saddened to learn that Mark Ponton passed away. Mark was such a bright and engaged man. He was a huge asset to the community. Mark was a RIOC board member from 2002 to 2008 during many of the challenging administrations. He spent hours with his multi-page projects lists quietly working behind the scenes tracking projects to ensure that our needs were being met and taking action when needed. One story comes to mind. Around 2006, RIOC and Con Edison had a feud on who was responsible for replacing light bulbs. Meanwhile, for months many of our burned out street lamps remained dark. Each week frustrated RIRA members would detail the new street lights that were out and would send the new information to RIOC. One day the lights were on for good. Mark Ponton had gotten on the truck and rode around the Island with staff to make sure they got bulbs into each and every lamp; effectively ending the discussion. People like Mark who do what it takes rather than complaining are so important to a vibrant community life. He will be missed. 
Mr. Ponton was a nice and very smart man who cared about Roosevelt Island and did his very best to make our community a better place. He will be missed.

My condolences to his family and friends.

UPDATE 1/25 - During the January 23, 2014 RIOC Board Meeting, Director David Kraut commented upon the death of Mr. Ponton. Mr. Kraut praised Mr. Ponton's contribution to the Roosevelt Island community and thanked him posthumously for his service. Here's Mr. Kraut's full remarks.


Michael Moreo said...

Very sad to hear about the passing of Mark. He was a good man, with strong opinions. His heart was always in the right place. I am certain he will be missed by many.

sam1602 said...

To my way of thinking, Mark was the only decent RIOC board member during
the period that he was appointed and until elected residents could join
him. He always had the community's best interests in mind in all of
his actions on the board. He had a wonderful ability to identify the
core of an issue and get the necessary information to make a proper
decision. I remember how he brought the top seven metallurgists in the
country to evaluate our old trams - all concluding that there was
nothing at all wrong them and they would be good for the foreseeable
future. He was a great supporter of sane Island development and
responsible budgeting, so that we could finance vital operations without
have to mortgage our open spaces to get more funds. Sadly, he was
overruled on many of these efforts, but he definitely fought the good

On a personal note, he was a good friend, had a very
sharp wit, and was generous without pretense. I will always remember
him warmly.