Vince Tria, one of Riverhead’s most dedicated community leaders, has died at the age of 84, the News-Review has learned.
In 1987, Mr. Tria and his son, Bruce, purchased the Riverhead radio station WRIV 1390 AM, which plays pop standards and broadcasts live interviews with local elected officials.
In addition to his work with the radio station, Mr. Tria, who grew up in East Northport, was instrumental in the 2003 restoration of the historic Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, for which he was named the News-Review’s Person of the Year.
At that time, Mr. Tria, who was also treasurer of the Vail-Leavitt, led the restoration of the then-dilapidated business. Renovations were completed under budget and in just 10 months.
“I told them if they would leave me alone, I would have the place reopened in less than a year,” Mr. Tria, a former contractor, told the News-Review in 2003. “I got their vote of confidence and the job was finished two months early.”
Having served as a volunteer “ombudsman” and community liaison under then-Supervisor Phil Cardinale, Mr. Tria decided to run for a Riverhead Town Council seat in 2005. He ultimately lost the election.
A master plumber with 35 years’ experience in the construction business, Mr. Tria was named president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association in 2010.
“Vince adopted Riverhead as his hometown,” Mr. Cardinale said in an interview Wednesday. “He was an ombudsman for citizens who needed help from Town Hall and he was willing to fill in wherever needed.”
Mr. Tria also volunteered to operate the video cameras for Town Board meetings so that they could be broadcast on public access television.
“Vince would put in 40 or 50 hours a week and he was never paid a dollar,” Mr. Cardinale said.
The former supervisor added that Mr. Tria was always willing to offer his opinion — something Mr. Cardinale said he appreciated.
“If he felt I was going off-course, he would tell me,” he said.
Obituary and funeral arrangements for Mr. Tria are private. On Wednesday, his family declined to comment for this story.
Photo: Vince Tria. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)