Onorato described Ike’s work as top-notch. “He earned that right of head custodian,” he said.
The news of Ike’s death was a tough phone call to take, Onorato said, especially because Ike stayed so upbeat through a difficult time. “He was a really great guy,” Onorato said, “and I miss him already.”
Susan Leggett, a teacher at the Brooklyn Avenue School, struck up a friendship with Ike when he worked there, and it continued after he transferred to Buck. She described him as a generous, gregarious and friendly person.
Leggett said that Ike enjoyed interacting with students, and would always try to cheer up a child who was having a bad day — often with a joke. “He loved to tell stories about children and the silly things that they do,” she said, adding that he also talked with great pride about his family, including his sisters, nieces and nephews.
When Ike first became sick, Leggett said, he took stock of his life, and appreciated all the support he received from friends and co-workers.
Fale added that Ike’s relationship with teachers like Leggett is indicative of the family atmosphere in District 24, where friendships cross all boundaries. “In some districts, custodians are custodians, teachers are teachers,” he said. “Here that’s different.”
Onorato added that Ike was a great supporter of education and a team player, and always offered good insight into how to make District 24 a better place.
His family is asking that donations be made to the William L. Buck School PTA. Onorato said that the money will be used for art initiatives for the students, to honor Ike’s passion.