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Erastus Corning, II
Birth: Oct. 7, 1909
Albany
Albany County
New York, USA
Death: May 28, 1983
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Mayor, Albany, New York, 41 years. Longest serving mayor of a major American city. Preferred name written with Arabic numeral 2nd rather than Roman numeral II. Great grandfather, Erastus Corning, was successful businessman who founded New York Central Railroad and served as Albany mayor, alderman, state senator and US Representative. Uncle Parker Corning served as Congressman, 1923-37. Father Edwin was lieutenant governor, 1926-28. Attended Albany Academy and Groton School. Graduate, Yale, 1932, majoring in history and English literature. Member, Phi Beta Kappa. Married Elizabeth Norris Platt (1912-1993), who became noted horticulturist and President of Garden Club of America, Philadelphia, June 23, 1932. Two children, Erastus III (born 1933) and Bettina (born 1938). Started insurance company, Albany Associates, and used political influence to have company receive bulk of Albany County government's insurance business, which was legal since he was not a county official. Affiliate of Dan O'Connell's Democratic organization, one of most durable in American history, known for hiring legions of government employees who were expected to vote Democratic (sometimes more than once) and to contribute three percent of their salaries to the organization. Delegate, New York Democratic convention, 1934. New York Assembly, 1936-37. New York Senate, 1937-41. Successful candidate for mayor 11 times, running every four years from 1941 to 1981. Mayor, 1942-83. Army, Europe, World War II, serving 1944-45. Enlisted Infantryman, 38th Regiment, 2nd Division, earning Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star. Democratic nominee, lieutenant governor, 1946. Delegate to Democratic national conventions, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1972, 1980. Chairman, Albany County Democratic Committee after O'Connell's death, serving 1977-83. During mayoralty, it was common knowledge that he did not reside at his Albany voting address but at home called Corning Hill in town of Bethlehem, just yards from Albany city line. Took lead role in providing local and county $2 billion in financing to make possible construction of Empire State Plaza state office building complex. Known for flexibility with truth, evasiveness and precision with language. In often-repeated story, when asked by reporter trying to obtain a definite answer what was his favorite color, he replied "plaid." Tallest building in complex, Corning Tower, is named for him, as is Corning Nature Preserve on Albany's Hudson River waterfront. During final term suffered failing health due to complications from emphysema caused by years of smoking. Hospitalized extensively at Albany Medical Center. Transferred to Boston's University Hospital, where he died of heart failure.

 (bio by: Bill McKern) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Edwin Corning (1883 - 1934)
  Louise Maxwell Corning (1885 - 1976)
 
 Spouse:
  Elizabeth P. Platt Corning (1912 - 1993)*
 
 Sibling:
  Erastus Corning (1909 - 1983)
  Edwin Corning (1919 - 1964)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Albany Rural Cemetery
Menands
Albany County
New York, USA
Plot: Section 31
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jul 22, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial# 3229
Erastus Corning, II
Added by: quebecoise
 
Erastus Corning, II
Added by: Andrew R. Pulsifer
 
Erastus Corning, II
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Teena (Mayham) Schroeder
 
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- John P. Birosak
 Added: Jun. 27, 2012
My mentor, with thanks.
- Greer
 Added: Mar. 13, 2010

- Frank Everett
 Added: Oct. 7, 2009
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