Brooklyn Boro

Former chief clerk of Brooklyn Board of Elections remembered as loyal friend

September 13, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Leo Barrile, who was born in Brooklyn and retired in Staten Island, was active politically and was the chief clerk of the Brooklyn Board of Elections when he retired in 2000. Photo courtesy of Emma Arato

Letterio “Leo” Barrile, who worked for the Brooklyn Board of Elections and served as a district leader, died on Staten Island on Aug. 28 at the age of 76.

Barrile, married to Antoinette, father of John and Emma and grandfather to five, was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. His friends remember him as very loyal and always willing to give advice, and his friends and family remembered him as the loving patriarch of a typical Italian-American family.

“My mother began working as his secretary in 1983 and I still remember visiting — he would be there, this big powerful guy, behind his big desk in his big chair. He used to smoke his brown cigarettes,” said Lisa Sattie.

“He became like my second father, my political father,” Sattie continued. “He taught me everything I know about the business. I’m going to miss his advice. He was always the person who kept me out of trouble.”

Barrile was active politically in Brooklyn and was a long-time member of Guy Mangano’s political club, the Mazzini Democratic Club. He also served as a district leader. At the Board of Elections, he started as a voting machine technician and eventually retired as the Brooklyn chief clerk in 2000.

After his retirement, Barrile moved to Staten Island and remained active politically as a district leader and a member of the Democratic Committee of Richmond County.

“He was a wonderful guy with a wonderful family,” said long-time friend Steve Cohn. “Maybe about three or four months ago a few of us took him to Marco Polo, his old haunt in Carroll Gardens, and we had a blast. Domenick Napoletano was there, the former Borough President Howie Golden was there. He had a terrific time.”

Judge Raymond Rodriguez recalls Barrile as a loyal friend and someone he always went to for advice.

“At his funeral, you could see the impact of his friendships because there were people from all over the political spectrum — including the mayor,” said Judge Rodriguez. “People trusted his advice. I’m lucky because he gave me a lot of advice throughout my career. It got to the point where I wouldn’t do anything without calling him. And if he was in a position to help you, he would.”

His friends at the Board of Elections in Staten Island said that this election season has been surreal without him. His daughter said that nothing has been the same since he died.

“We lived in the same house, so my kids were extremely close to him, especially my youngest daughter,” said Emma Arato. “It was such a shock to us because he was such a strong man who was never sick a day in my life. He never missed a day’s work. He was our rock and our strength. We’re going to miss him.”

His youngest grandchild, Leah, got married last October, and both Sattie and his daughter said it meant so much to him to see his first grandchild married.