Joseph Preite, 92, of Weston, FL and NYC, NY, passed away September 28, 2021. Born August 5, 1929 in Pescopagano, Italy, to Raffaele & Maria Teresa Bruno Preite. Educated by the Jesuits in, Naples, Italy with Angelo Preite, his brother. He emigrated to the US (Summit & Jersey City NJ) in 1949 to claim his US citizenship as his father had been previously naturalized, enrolled in NYU for dentistry, and drafted into the US Army in 1952 where he honorably and faithfully served his Country at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he graduated in Light & Heavy Weapons Infantry School as Leader, qualified for Officer’s Candidate School, completed his Army Medical Field Services Courses with an “excellent” rating at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and was honorably discharged from Active Service in the US Army in 1954 with the rank Corporal. Joseph returned to NJ and started his career in tourism, with BelAire Tours, through which he met Miss Gloria Mercorella and ultimately married Dec. 7, 1958, and then founded Ameropa Travel Inc. in Brooklyn, NY in 1965 which served as official domestic and international tour operator for Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines, at times simultaneously, which was rare. In 1969, he founded & published L’Agenda, the National Italian American News paper which promoted positive Italian American news, culture & interests, and which served as entre to NY & national politics embracing and supporting Italian American and other political leaders, and which took him to the White House as ethnic news publisher during several administrations. He strongly supported the Church through many outlets including Catholic Guardian Society, Catholic Charities (which honored Joseph in 1988), and St. Frances College in Brooklyn NY where he faithfully served as a member of its Board of Trustees for 15 years, and helped expand the board to include other ethnic group members. In 1995 Joseph relocated to Florida, eventually taking up residence in Weston where he served as condo president, ran for local town trustee, and noticed that the Catholic community was not served. He promptly undertook petitioning the Diocese to create a Catholic parish in Weston, which concept was rebuffed, but which Joseph took as an invitation to a conversation. Ultimately the Diocese agreed to create a new parish in Weston, Florida, and thus St. Katherine Drexel parish was born in early 2001 by renting the basement of a local public school, and with its first mass held on September 16, 2001. Mass was chock full that day, no standing room, and the parish has continued to be vibrant and grow with it’s permanent church building constructed in 2014.
In 1988, Gloria, Joseph’s loving wife of 30 years, preceded Joseph in death, as did his daughter Maria Teresa Harrison in 2015.
Surviving Joseph are his son Ralph Preite; daughter-in-law, Alexandra Preite ; son-in-law Edmond J. Harrison; and four grand-children, Emma Teresa Preite, Thomas Joseph Preite, Meghan Harrison LeStrange and Edmond James “EJ” Harrison.
The NYC funeral mass is:
Oct. 16 at 10 AM at:
Church of the Epiphany
375 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10010
A US military honor guard will be present.
A Florida funeral and viewing was held: October 7 & 8 at St. Katherine Drexel Church in Weston FL and TM Ralph Funeral Home
Joseph will be laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in Staten Island, New York alongside Gloria, his wife.