Columbian Lawyers Association remembers Justice Joseph Giamboi
Joseph Giamboi, former New York state Supreme Court Justice and one of the early founders of the Columbian Lawyers Association, died on Sept. 27.
Mass was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Thursday, Oct. 4 and Vito Cannavo, past president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, also shared a few words about the judge at a recent meeting.
“His wake was truly a sad occasion,” Cannavo said. “He lived a full and distinguished life of public service.”
Cannavo remembered the judge, who most recently served in the Bronx after he took senior status, as a fair judge, who made people feel happy with his positive attitude — and his red Cadillac.
“He was a decent and kind man, a generous guy who was happy when he made you happy,” Cannavo said. “There was always a smile on his face and a word of encouragement for anyone who greeted him. He had a great sense of humor. He was always smiling, laughing. He was a dapper dresser. You didn’t live until you took a ride with him in his big red Cadillac flying along on the roads.”
Giamboi, who was born in 1925, went to New York Law School prior to being admitted to the NYS Bar in 1955. He served as a Supreme Court judge from 1995 until 2004 and had a private practice for 40 years prior to joining the bench.
“Truly we lost another of the greatest generation,” Cannavo said. “He lived through the depression, World War [II], he worked very hard to get where he was. He showed us what true grit and determination was really about. He’s truly a great American and I’m going to miss him.”
Cannavo’s eulogy came at a Columbian Lawyers meeting on discrimination against Italian-Americans, which seemed appropriate as he recalled the judge’s efforts to build up the association.
“He was one of the founding members of what the Columbian Lawyers [Association] was,” Cannavo said. “He was always involved because he liked to be the tremendous force that he was. He was a great supporter for everyone. He understood what this organization was about and how important it was for professionals of Italian-American descent to have a forum where they could feel welcome and get the support they needed to continue in this profession. Mostly, he was a guy who stood for the dignity and integrity of Italian Americans in any walk of life. We should be proud of what he stood for.
“When he ran for assembly his slogan was ‘Atta-boy Giamboi,’” Cannavo continued. “Judge, I just want to say to you, from all of us, that you did good. Thanks for sharing such a good life with us. Atta boy, Giamboi.”
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