Frank Padavan remembered across the borough

TimesLedger Newspapers
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Longtime state Sen. Frank Padavan died Tuesday, according to an announcement from the Queens County GOP.

Padavan died of a heart attack at New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to a source. He was 83.

A Republican, Padavan went to Albany in 1972 as the state senator from the 11th District, a seat he would hold for 38 years representing a wide swath of Queens, including Bayside, Bay Terrace, Queens Village, Bellerose, Flushing, Whitestone, Little Neck, College Point and Jamaica Estates.

“I was friends with Frank for 38 years from his very first campaign. I was the state director of the Conservative Party at the time and he was an unknown quantity but we liked him from the start,” Serphin Maltese said. “He was a towering figure in the state Senate. For 38 years he was an independent voice in the Senate with a great amount of credibility. That’s why he kept getting re-elected in a district where Democrats outnumbered Republicans three to one.”

Padavan fought hard for mental health patient rights, education, fairness in the criminal justice system and he was a fierce opponent of gambling.

“He was anti-gambling and anti-lottery, that was one of his hallmarks,” Maltese said. “He thought the government was victimizing the middle class and poor people by picking their pockets.”

Padavan spent more than half of his life representing the people of northeast Queens before losing to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in the November 2010 general election.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former State Sen. Frank Padavan,” Avella said. “He will be well remembered as someone who fought diligently for northeast Queens and served our community well.”

During the Ed Koch administration, Padavan put a stop to a men’s shelter at the Creedmor Campus that had homeowners in his district on a selling spree. Padavan filed a lawsuit against the state that forced its closure.

The shelter was subsequently replaced by a residential care facility for the mentally challenged.

In the late 1970s, homeowners in northeast Queens resisted group homes for adults with developmental disabilities in their neighborhoods, but Padavan saw the benefits as a human right.

In 1978, New York’s Padavan Law passed, preventing communities from excluding group homes unless the area is already saturated or a better site in the same community could be found.

Matt Zebatto, the assistant executive director of Life’s WORC, called the law revolutionary.

“It made it possible for people with special needs to live in a residential setting in a community as a family instead of living in large institutio­ns,” Zebatto said.

In 1998, Padavan helped acquire state land to build the Glen Oaks school compound which would become home to The Queens High School of Teaching, PS/IS 266 and PS/IS 208.

In 2008, the city Department of Education renamed the complex The Frank Padavan Campus.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said he was deeply saddened by Padavan’s passing.

“Sen. Padavan was a staunch advocate for his northeast Queens district, and a fighter for the forgotten middle class,” Ulrich said.

Before serving his long tenure in Albany, Padavan earned his degree in electrical engineering and spent 30 years as a reserve member of the United States Army. He then served as Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings for four years.

“I am sorry to hear of Senator Frank Padavan’s passing,” state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) said. “He will be remembered for his service to his county at all levels of government.”

Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, who held office from 1986 to 2002, remembered her friend and colleague Tuesday afternoon.

“He did an enormous wonderful service for the borough of Queens, the state of New York and for the city of New York,” Shulman told TimesLedger Newspapers. “He was a hard worker who did very well for his constituen­ts.”

Padavan was predeceased by his wife Johanne and he is survived by two adult children.

“My sympathies go out to his children Alison and Scott,” Maltese said. “They’re going to miss him terribly.”

Padavan will be waked at the Gleason Funeral Home in Whitestone Saturday Oct. 13 between 2 and 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. with a religious service Sunday at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a number of organizations he supported.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Updated 7:07 am, October 12, 2018
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Reader feedback

Helton from Flushing says:
Padavan served his community with distinction for decades. RIP Frank.
Oct. 9, 3:01 pm
Maria Becce from Broadway-Flushing says:
I am deeply saddened to learn about Senator Frank Padavan's passing - Senator Padavan was a marvelous and dedicated public servant who served his constituents for many, many years. He never said no to anyone in need or to lend a hand. Senator Padavan worked tirelessly along with Marjorie and Nick Ferrigno advocating for the city to designate Broadway-Flushing a landmark historic district. Senator Padavan knew the enormous benefits of working together, encouraged civic groups by participating in all neighborhood activities, was incredibly generous with his time, brought intelligence and balance to every discussion, a champion of education, and above all was a true gentleman. We are all better citizens for having known him. Thank you, Senator Padavan.
Oct. 9, 3:04 pm
Bob from Glen Oaks says:
As president of the world's largest co-op, I am deeply saddened by Frank's death. He always took care of my problems as long as donations to campaign was made on time. RIP.
Oct. 9, 5:06 pm
Brian M.McLaughlin from Flushing says:
A dear friend and devoted colleague. Proud to partner scores of legislation with him from saving Flushing hospital to the anti loitering statute everyone said could not be done. His perserverence, and smart and savvy ways around the Senate made our time a joy. We became friends and remained after politics. A gentleman, a leader, and a fighter for Queens
Oct. 9, 9:49 pm
John P Watts from Former Queens Resident says:
I’m so sad to hear this. Frank Padavan and Doug Prescott (R) were mutually supportive of my former boss, NYC Council-member, Julia Harrison (D). They worked on many issues together. No parties lines there - politics aside, they all worked for “the people” who elected them. I am grateful to have known him. RIP Senator.
Oct. 10, 9:07 am
Joseph A. Panzardi from Whitestone says:
A strong advocate for veterans. When ever he was asked to help, he was always there...RIP Frank. He was our Grand Marshal last Memorial Day and was proud to be asked.
Oct. 10, 9:58 am
Maureen Padavsn Butchen from Seaford LI says:
My uncle , Frank Padavan , was always a intelligent , kind humble man that fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves . This man stood for this country army man, proud to serve his country. Then he continued to do so for almost 40 years in the senate. Please with due respect, only kind words with wisdom and admiration please. This is the respect he earned in his life. He will forever be a tremendous hero in my life . I will miss you and will continue to look for your guidance. Thank you for being the man of integrity you were. In my heavy heart forever. Your proud neice Maureen
Oct. 10, 4:59 pm
Rubby Valbuena from S&C Quality cleaning s says:
On behalf of the maintenance staff of our company ., we extended our condolences for the death of SENATOR Frank Padavan has been more than 10 years of service for him. We will always remember him as an honorable, friendly person with excellent values. Rest In Peace senator Frank Padavan
Oct. 10, 11:15 pm
Aline and Henry Euler from Bayside says:
We are devastated to hear that Senator Padavan has passed. He truly was a dedicated public servant for the 38 years that he served as our State Senator. He was highly respected by people of all political persuasions for all of the great work that he did for his district and his constituents. Organizations like the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Bayside Historical Society and countless others all benefitted from his efforts to fund and support them. Many would not be in existence without the help of Senator Padavan. Our sympathies go out to his family at this sad time. Let's remember all of the good that this man did while he was with us. Nobody cared like Frank!
Oct. 11, 12:28 pm
Ellen Blythe from Formerly Bayside now Whitestone says:
I lived in Bayside 40 years and always admired the work of Senator Frank Padavan. He will be sorely missed by the entire Northeast community. Rest in peace Senator Padavan you are so deserving of our admiration. ,
Oct. 11, 2:42 pm

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