FLUSHING — Former City Councilman Paul Vallone, who passed away from a heart attack on Jan. 28 at age 56, was praised by a friend as a man of deep faith who dedicated himself to making New York City a better place to live.
Vallone, a parishioner of St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing and a graduate of St. John’s Prep in Queens, served on the City Council from 2013 to 2021, representing a district that included Flushing, Whitestone, Douglaston, College Point, and Bayside.
Following his council tenure, he went to work at the city’s Department of Veterans Affairs as the deputy commissioner for external affairs.
But he was equally dedicated to his church and to the Diocese of Brooklyn, said Vincent LeVien, director of external affairs for DeSales Media Group, the ministry that produces The Tablet.
Vallone was a member of the St. Andrew Avellino Father’s Club and the church’s Finance Committee. He was also involved in the CYO, coaching soccer. In addition, he volunteered during the church’s food drives for homeless people and took part in Christmas toy drives.
His generosity also extended to the diocese as a whole, LeVien said. “He was always there when you needed him. When he was on the council, he always advocated for funding for Catholic schools and for organizations like Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Catholic Migration Services. He really wanted to help the diocese help people,” he explained.
LeVien, a close friend, described Vallone’s sudden death as a big blow to everyone who knew him. “This is a tough time. He had the biggest heart and biggest smile,” he added.
Vallone hailed from a family of public servants. His father, Peter Vallone, served on the City Council for more than two decades, from 1974 until 2001, and for eight of those years was the powerful council speaker.
Paul Vallone’s brother, Peter Vallone Jr., was also on the City Council, serving from 2002 until 2013.
During his eight years on the council, Paul Vallone spent a great deal of time on education and senior issues. He pushed for more classrooms to be built in schools in his district, brought back the New York City Council Merit Scholarship program and helped bring the city’s Free Senior Transportation program to the district.
In recent years, Vallone dedicated himself to caring for his elderly, ailing parents, father Peter and mother Tena.
St. Andrew Avellino Church, where Vallone could be found every Sunday attending Mass, was the site of his funeral Mass on Friday, Feb. 2. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside.
Vallone is survived by his wife Anna-Marie and their three children, Catena, Lea, and Charlie. His family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Queens and the Alzheimer’s Association.