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Ribbon-cutting and tree planting at John J. Walsh Memorial Park attended by family of slain mother and son

People July 29, 2022

Leonard and Allen Pabo (center), brothers of Ann Pabo, with members of the Walsh family, representatives from the Town of Huntington, and other government representatives at a ribbon-cutting last week, rededicating the renovated playground to their sister and nephew, who were killed 12 years ago in a murder-suicide.

The rededication of an East Northport playground offered the opportunity for a community to remember a mother and son whose lives were cut short by domestic violence, murdered 12 years ago in their East Northport apartment.

Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth and local officials were joined by members of the Pabo family for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the recently replaced playground and memorial tree at John Walsh Memorial Park, on Larkfield Road. Members of the Walsh family were also in attendance.

In 2011, the former playground was dedicated in memory of Ann Pabo and her son Connele, East Northport residents who, on July 21, 2010, were killed by Connele’s father in a murder-suicide. The mother-son pair often visited the East Northport library together, which was a short trip from their Laurel Road apartment, and directly adjacent to the park. Connele, a sixth grader at East Northport Middle School and former Bellerose Avenue Elementary student, loved to read, according to his teachers. On the one-year anniversary of their tragic deaths, a dogwood tree was planted beside the library in their memory. The tree did not survive and the sign had weathered over time.

At the January 13, 2020 town board meeting, the board approved up to $525,000 in Environmental Open Space & Park Funds for a new playground at John J. Walsh Memorial Park, removing old equipment and sand-based playgrounds, and installing new ADA-accessible play structures and swing sets with safety surfacing.

The new playground opened in March 2022. A memorial sign honoring Ann and Connele was fabricated by the Huntington Highway Department and installed on the playground fence in April, and a redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) was planted by the town in May.

“Ann and Connele's Playground and the newly planted redbud tree will honor their memory and make sure our community never forgets these community members, whose lives were tragically cut short 12 years ago,” Supervisor Symth said.

Supervisor Smyth was joined by local officials at the ribbon cutting, including Councilman Eugene Cook, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo, Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Highway Superintendent Andre Sorrentino, and Assemblyman Keith Brown. Representatives attended from the offices of Councilman Sal Ferro, Senator Mario Mattera, and District Attorney Ray Tierney.

Leonard and Allen Pabo, brothers of Ann Pabo, attended the ceremony along with Bill Walsh and the family of John Walsh, the former Highway Superintendent for whom the park is named. Attendees representing the community included Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Director of Member Services Kelly Smith, East Northport Chamber of Commerce President Lori Malley, and East Northport Public Library Branch Manager Michelle Athanas.

“Hopefully in honor of Ann’s and Connele’s memory, many families from this community will enjoy their time spent together with family and friends and know that these are memories that will stay in their hearts forever,” stated Councilman Eugene Cook.

The park is located at 190 Larkfield Road in East Northport, next to the East Northport Library.