Miele served as commissioner of the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He also served as chair of Community Board 10 in south Queens for over a decade.
“He was out of the house five out of seven nights a week,” said his son, Joel Miele, Jr. He admitted that as a child he was a little jealous of having so much of his father’s attention given to the New York City, but “now it makes me proud.”
Miele, Jr. said the family had to throw their father four separate retirement parties because he never stopped working.
“My father was someone who believed that we all had an obligation to give back to the best of our ability,” he said. “And my father’s ability was high.”
Miele, Sr. served in the U.S. Navy as a civil engineer for three years of active duty and 29 years of inactive duty, retiring in 1988 with the rank of captain. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and was a resident of Old Howard Beach.
Along with his career in public service, he worked as an engineer with a firm on Furmanville Avenue in Middle Village.
State Senator Joe Addabbo said that he had a long relationship with Miele, who he looked up to.
“Joel was the person I modeled myself after when I decided to enter a career in public service,” he said. “As I started to get active in civic duty and public service, Joel was my ideal public servant that I looked to and emulated.”
In 1990, Betty Barton took over for Miele as chair of the community board and said that she is still trying to fill the very large shoes that her predecessor left.
“He was a can-do person who offered his expertise on anything and everything,” she said.
“Joel Miele was a man of many talents who used them all to serve Queens and the entire City of New York,” said Queens Borough Preisdent Helen Marshall. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for devoting his time, talents, knowledge and energy to help make our borough and city better.”
Among many groups and organizations he was a part of, one individual remembered him as “a great guy.”
Phil Robinson, former executive director of the Boy Scouts in Queens, recalled working with Miele, who was on the board of the organization.
“He was doing something all the time,” Robinson said.
One of the things Robinson remembered about Miele were his connections, a testament to his dedication to others.
“If he couldn’t solve the problem for you, he knew someone that could,” he said.