DeCota, who was director of Aviation for Port Authority until his untimely death last year at the age of 51, was memorialized with a tree of his own last Thursday, an Emerald Green arborvitae that was planted just yards from the tree of his good friend and colleague Levin.
DeCota’s successor, Susan Baer, described him as the kind of man who made time for everyone, which was why he had to work every Sunday. Although he was the director, he was also the department’s unofficial chauffeur, mortgage consultant and a variety of other odd roles.
“Bill would have taken a lot of delight in coming back year after year and pointing out how much bigger, greener and stronger his tree was than the others, then told us all about it,” said Baer, eliciting a round of warm laughter.
QBG Board Chairman Frank Mirovsky pointed out that memorial trees honor those who have passed while comforting those who still live.
“Richard Pearlman’s and Neil Levin’s names bring honor to this place; Bill DeCota’s now does the same,” said Mirovsky. “We at the Queens Botanical Garden will always be loving custodians of Bill’s tree.”
Councilman Peter Koo added, “we only live here temporarily, but a tree lives for hundreds of years. May the memory of Bill DeCota last forever.”