Bay Ridge

Community leader Joanne Seminara remembered as a ‘trailblazer’

December 17, 2022 Jaime DeJesus
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Civic and political leader Joanne Lehu Seminara died Dec. 15 at age 66.

The lifelong Bay Ridge resident served on Community Board 10 for 26 years and was its chairperson from 2010 to 2013.

She was also the Democratic leader of the 64th Assembly District; a three-time City Council candidate; a partner in the Grimaldi Yeung Law Group; and co-author, with Judith Grimaldi and Pierre Lehu, of “5@55 – 5 Essential Legal Documents You Need by Age 55.”

Her many honors include the 2017 Bay Ridge Third Avenue Merchants Civic Award; 2016 Community Service and Law Award from the Brooklyn Real Estate Board; 2014 New York City Council Women’s Community Service Award; and 2012 Top Women in Business and 2016 Power Women in Business awards from the Home Reporter and Spectator News. 

Joanne Seminara and Councilmember Justin Brannan. Photo courtesy of Councilmember Justin Brannan

She is survived by her husband Pierre A. Lehu; children Peter Lehu and Gabrielle Lehu Frawley; and grandchildren Jude, Rhys, Isabelle and James Joseph.

CB10 Chair Jaynemarie Capetanakis and District Manager Josephine Beckmann posted a tribute to Seminara on the board’s Facebook page.

“She was a trailblazer and our first woman chair, which opened the path for female chairs to follow, and served as a role model for young women in our community,” they said.

The Bay Ridge Democrats club, which Seminara founded, said, “Joanne was an original – a person who shaped our community through her politics, who helped many through her legal work and community service, and who mentored and supported us all.”

Elected officials also offered tributes.

“In many ways, she was a moral compass of the community, always pushing to make sure that people and institutions did the right and proper thing for the neighborhood,” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

“Joanne believed your job as a human being was to leave the world a little bit better than how you found it and engaging in the often ugly world of politics was merely a means to an end,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. 

Joanne Seminara Photo courtesy of Facebook

A visitation will be held Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Clavin Funeral Home. The funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Andrew the Apostle Church.

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