Chamber’s Joseph Previte dies at 86

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Former Queens Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Previte died from complications following a minor stroke at a Queens hospital Monday. He was 86.

"Joe believed in a life of service to the community," said Frank Macchio, a board member of the Queens Chamber and the Flushing Rotary, of which Previte had also been a member.

He was also a friend of Previte for 20 years. "He was a leader among men. When there was a cause in need, he would corral the troops to put on a benefit or fund-raiser," said Macchio. "He could never say no to a charitable organization. Joe was twice my age, but I could never keep up with him."

Previte, whose father was a dress manufacturer, attended Newtown High School and served in the United States Army, Macchio said. He worked as an attorney in Queens for 60 years, Macchio said.

He served as president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce from 1993 to 1997 and was active in the Flushing Rotary for more than 10 years, Macchio said. Previte also formerly served as a commissioner to the city's Elections Board, Macchio said.

Albert Pennisi, the chamber president, said he knew Previte for more than 25 years.

"He was a true gentleman," he said. "At the Queens Chamber and as a community activist, he was the most community-minded person you'd ever meet. He worked countless hours for the residential and business community of Queens."

Former City Councilman Thomas Ognibene, a 2005 mayoral candidate, said he knew Previte from his time on the City Council.

"He was very active in the Republican Party and was a very honorable man," Ognibene said.

State Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) said he would put in a resolution with the state's legislative body to mark Previte's death.

"He was a spark plug, a guy who was devoted to the community," Maltese said. "He'll be missed."

Macchio said Previte also had a great passion for food.

"He was famously known for his linguini in white clam sauce, which he must have served to thousands of Queens residents," he said. "He had a love for cooking and would often entertain 20 to 40 people at his home for dinner. It was a who's who crowd of politicians, judges and business owners."

Previte also visited Italy annually for more than 50 years, Macchio said.

Previte, who was born in Astoria but living in Cedarhurst, L.I. at the time of his death, is survived by Gloria Previte, his wife of nearly 50 years, Macchio said.

A wake for Previte was scheduled for Wednesday at the Papervero Funeral Home on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, while a mass was scheduled for Thursday at Our Lady of Hope Church on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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