Margaret Giovanniello, 88

Cedarhurst resident was a legal eagle

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Originally from Indiana, Margaret Montgomery Torr Giovanniello graduated high school in Pennsylvania, went to college in Wisconsin, lived in Brooklyn, worked in New York City and settled in Cedarhurst for 45 years, and became an administrative law judge with the state’s Department of Labor.

Giovanniello, a devoted wife, mother, attorney and bar association leader died on Jan. 17. She was 88.

Born on May 23, 1927 in Terre Haute, Giovanniello was a graduate of Reading High School in Reading, Pa. From there she went to the University of Wisconsin, worked on the school newspaper, the Wisconsin Daily Cardinal, and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949.

She headed east and worked for New York City’s Department of Welfare, where she met Joseph Giovanniello. They were married on June 10, 1951. The couple worked full-time jobs and attended Brooklyn Law School at night.

After earning their law degrees in 1956, they established the law firm of Giovanniello & Giovanniello, initially in Brooklyn, then in Cedarhurst. The successful practice focused on criminal defense. Joseph died in 2010.

Margaret was a member of several legal organizations, including the American Bar Foundation, American Bar Association, Brooklyn Club, Brooklyn Law School Alumni Association and New York State Association of Administrative Law Judges.

She was president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association 1982-’84, on the board of directors for the Brooklyn Bar Association 1983-’89 and an ethics committee member since 1978, and treasurer of the Nassau Suffolk Women’s Bar 1982-‘83 she served as president 1984-’85; president of the National Association Administrative Law Judges 1986-’87 and a vice president 1984-’85 and 1988-’96, and was an executive committee member of the National Conference Administrative Law Judges 1994-’98. Giovanniello served as president of the New York Network Bar Leaders from 1995-’96.

In October of 2015, the National Association Administrative Law Judges presented her with its prestigious Vic Rosskopf Award for her pioneering legal career.

Giovanniello is survived by her sister, Helen Exton of Maryland; four sons: Rocco of Cedarhurst, Raymond of East Rockaway and East Quogue, Joseph Jr. of Manhasset and Earle of Orange, Conn., and six grandchildren, Lauren, Ray Jr., Rachel, Daniel, Sarah and Elizabeth.

Services were held at the Flinch & Bruns Funeral Home in Lynbrook on Jan. 20. Interment was at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale on Jan. 21.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Brooklyn Law School, Office of Development, 250 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, NY 11201-9710.