A Mother's Devoted Son
Denis Lavelle idolized Rush Limbaugh and had cleared rooms at many a family gathering arguing his hard-line conservatism, but the last thing his relatives expected him to do was run for public office. But there was Mr. Lavelle over the summer, 42 and an absolute newcomer to retail politics, going door to door around Yonkers, where he was born and raised, collecting signatures for a run for the City Council on the Right to Life line.
"He had no chance," said his brother-in- law, Alex Dziadek. "But the party picked him because they knew he wouldn't take it lightly."
Mr. Lavelle, an accountant at Marsh & McLennan, had a ready smile, but he took his responsibilities seriously, and his greatest one was caring for his 75-year-old mother, who, widowed when he was 16, had become severely arthritic.
Mr. Lavelle, who never married, lived with his mother all his life, escorted her to Mass every Sunday and to the Italian restaurants on Central Avenue just about every weekend.
"He was so devoted to her," said Mr. Lavelle's sister Marie Paprocki. "He was a dedicated son."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 24, 2001.