By Celia Bernhardt | [email protected]
Paul Vallone, a lifelong public servant hailing from a Queens political dynasty, died suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday night. He was 56.
Mayor Adams called the Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Services and former City Council Member a “true son of Queens.”
“He upheld a family legacy,” Adams said in a statement. “Throughout his time in office, the blue-collar community he represented knew they had a fighter from the neighborhood representing them in City Hall.”
A moderate Democrat, Vallone represented Queens’ District 19 (now represented by Vickie Paladino) in City Council from 2014-2021, where he also chaired the economic development committee. In his tenure on the council he paid special attention to issues of education, adding a total of 4,500 school seats to the district. He also reinstated the New York City Council’s Merit Scholarship, which awards students up to $350 per semester.
Vallone led efforts to renovate Flushing’s beloved Bowne Park, which were finally completed this past spring. He also worked to build a new environmental center at Alley Pond Park. Vallone brought in a total of $40 million to Northeast Queens across his eight years in office—more than the district received in the previous nine city budgets together.
“Throughout his career, Paul was a fierce advocate for his constituents, particularly small businesses,” Tom Grech, CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. “He was a constant presence at Queens Chamber events, and our members always knew he was fighting for them at City Hall.”
After three terms in office, Vallone served as the Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Services.
“Paul Vallone was the epitome of a public servant, a true champion for the Northeast Queens communities he passionately served and an unrelenting advocate for military veterans,” Borough President Donovan Richards said in a statement.
Prior to his career in city government, Vallone worked at his family’s general practice law firm, Vallone & Vallone LLP, founded by his grandfather Charles in 1932. The family’s political power in Queens spans back decades—Charles Vallone served as a judge in the borough, and Paul’s father Peter Vallone as speaker of city council. Paul’s brother Peter Vallone Jr. served on city council and is presently a judge.
NY-03 Congressional Candidate Tom Suozzi tweeted on Sunday night mourning Vallone’s passing.
“Just yesterday, Paul ran a three-hour phone bank for me,” Suozzi wrote. “Paul is a great family man, a devoted father, husband, and public servant dedicated to the values he learned from his parents and family. I am so sad to hear about his death.”
Amid the messages of grief and remembrance from fellow public servants throughout the city, many have emphasized Vallone’s devotion to his family and friends.
“More than anything, Paul was a loving husband to Anna-Maria, a proud father of three incredible children and a loyal friend to everyone who, like me, had the honor of knowing him,” Richards said in a statement.
“Paul didn’t just carry on his family’s immense legacy of service — he personified and embodied it. He inspired me every single day to be a better elected official, but it’s his lessons in friendship, family and fatherhood that I will cherish for the rest of time. Queens is a better borough because of Paul, and I am a better person for having had the privilege of calling him a colleague and a friend.”
Vallone is survived by his wife Anna-Marie, and his three children, Catena, Lea, and Charlie.
Visitation will take place from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, at Joseph Farenga and Sons Inc. at 38-08 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria. Mass will take place on Friday, Feb. 2, from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at St. Andrew Avelino Catholic Church in Flushing. A cemetery service will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.