Bay Ridge

Anita Seminara praised as top notch educator

May 23, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Anita Seminara taught at McKinley Intermediate School for many years. Photo courtesy of Pierre Lehu
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Anita Seminara, a Bay Ridge resident who taught math at McKinley Intermediate School for many years, died May 20 after a long illness. She was 85 years old.

Seminara was beloved by generations of students for her lively classroom demeanor and her clever ability to take a dry subject like mathematics and make it exciting.

In addition to her career as a teacher, Seminara was also a civic leader in Bay Ridge, a community she called home for most of her life.

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Seminara served on the board of directors at the Bay Ridge Day Nursery, an organization that assisted mothers with young children. She was also a member of the Bay Ridge Forum, serving one term as president and participated in the “roasts” the group was famous for. The Bay Ridge Forum brought together community residents who met regularly to discuss issues of the day.

She was born Anita Garofalo on Aug. 24, 1930, to Peter and Mary Garofalo, and grew up in Bay Ridge. She graduated from Bay Ridge High School, now known as the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology, and Brooklyn College.

She married attorney Joseph Seminara. The couple has four children.

Seminara taught at McKinley Intermediate School, at 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway, for most of her career, although she also taught for a time in Arkansas where she followed her husband Joseph Seminara, a military attorney, who was stationed in Fort Smith.

When they returned to Bay Ridge, the couple became active in civic life in the community.

Like his wife, Joseph Seminara was active in numerous organizations and served on Community School Board 20 in the 1960s.

Joanne Seminara, the oldest of the Seminara’s four children, inherited the community service gene. She has served on Community Board 10 for 22 years, including three terms as chairperson. She is also the Democratic Party’s district leader in the 64th Assembly District.

The Seminaras’ daughter Juliette Campasano, and their sons Joseph and Frank, all reside in New Jersey.

Frank Seminara, a graduate of Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge and Columbia University, was a major league pitcher for several years in the 1990s, playing for the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets in his career.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile, a graduate of McKinley Intermediate School, praised Anita Seminara as an educator and community leader.

“Anita Seminara led a distinguished life. I knew her as far back as the days she taught mathematics at McKinley JHS and she was always a consummate professional,” he wrote on Facebook.

Seminar is survived by her husband, her four children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.

A wake for Seminara was held Joseph P. Clavin Sons Inc. at 7722 Fourth Ave. in Bay Ridge on May 21 and 22.

A funeral service took place at Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church at 6713 Ridge Blvd. on May 23. Interment took place at the Green-Wood Cemetery.

The Seminara family requested that donations be made in Anita Seminara’s name to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation at or the American Diabetes Association at

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