By Rich Pollack
HIGHLAND BEACH — Even after his second tenure as a Highland Beach commissioner came to an end in 2011, John Sorrelli always made it a point to stop by Town Hall as part of his morning routine.
“It was his ritual,” said Beverly Brown, a former town clerk and town manager who worked closely with Mr. Sorrelli when he served on several boards as well as on the commission. “He would stop in the library, stop in Town Hall and stop in St. Lucy Catholic Church just to say hello and see how he could help.”
An active and civically engaged resident during much of the nearly 25 years he spent in Highland Beach, Mr. Sorrelli died April 12. He was 91.
“John was a wonderful person,” Brown said. “He was an honest man who wasn’t looking for any glory. He just donated his time to make sure things were right.”
In addition to serving twice on the Town Commission — from 1998 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011 — Mr. Sorrelli served on both the town’s Planning Board and on the Code Enforcement Board. He was one of the early members of the nonprofit Friends of the Highland Beach Library and served on the Library Board.
“As a commissioner, John always voted for anything that was beneficial to the residents and to the employees,” Brown said.
Mr. Sorrelli was a former president of the Coronado Condo Association and was active at St. Lucy Catholic Church, where he served on the finance committee, counting committee and as an usher. He was very involved in the church’s Men’s Club and the Sunrise Group and served on the Sunday Continental Breakfast crew.
Mr. Sorrelli also volunteered regularly with Boca Helping Hands.
He and his wife, Phyllis, moved to Highland Beach in 1993 after retiring from Brooklyn, N.Y., where he owned the Creative Woodworking Co. He was a veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946, and attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before starting his business.
He is survived by his wife; son, John Jr. of Brooklyn; daughter and son-in-law, Phyllis and Raymond Carile, of Katonah N.Y.; and granddaughters, Patricia and Michelle.
Memorial services were held last month in New York. Contributions in Mr. Sorrelli’s memory may be made to Boca Helping Hands, www.bocahelpinghands.org, or to the Honor Flight Network, www.honorflight.org.