Mr. Dabbene's efforts touched the entire Italian-American community, but closest to his heart was the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. His appointment as Chairman and President/CEO in June 2001 began a renaissance for the small historic house. Under his direction, the museum restructured all its programs for schools, colleges and community groups; started a museum gift shop; developed traveling exhibitions; formed a Speaker's Bureau and completed over $250,000 in restoration projects. Even though he had stepped down as President/CEO of the museum in March, he remained extremely active in all areas of the museum administration.

"John's whole life was about passion, and it was his relentless passion for the museum that was really the heart of this place," said Museum Director Nicole Fenton. "He is irreplaceable."

A few highlights of Mr. Dabbene's other involvements and achievements include his membership on the board of the Italian-American Legal Defense and Higher Education Fund, and the New York City Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee. He was President of the Staten Island Chapter of Arba-Sicula, representative of the New York State Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) to the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and a board member of the National Italian-American Media Foundation. He twice served as President of the Wm. C. LaMorte Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) Lodge (now Father Capodanno Lodge) and was frequently a delegate to the National OSIA convention. He was a founding member of the New York Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) and served as president from 1993 to 1999 where he developed the first national Positive Image Program. In August 2005, he was appointed the first President Emeritus of CSJ, and in 2009 was awarded the Bene Emeritus Award by OSIA ... its highest award for service to the Italian-American community.

Mr. Dabbene is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Marcy Killberg; sons Michael and Peter and daughter Susan Rose; grandsons Christopher, Matthew and Giovanni, and granddaughter Lucia.

Coincidentally, Mr. Dabbene's death coincided with the 121st anniversary.