Frank Cannataro, an Italian immigrant who spoke no English when he arrived in New York City as a boy in 1929 but later attended Columbia University and built a 60-year law career in Nassau County, died Wednesday in Oceanside. He was 92.
Cannataro worked in his father's masonry and building business in Rockville Centre as a young man but had no taste for the job.
"It was physically demanding, there was sweltering heat in the summer and cold in the winter," said a daughter, Marina Cannataro of Rockville Centre.
After Columbia and time in the Army in the Pacific during World War II, he worked in the foreign service in Sicily, France, Holland and Germany before returning to law school at St. John's University and a career in private practice and at Nassau County's Surrogate's Court.
Italian-speaking lawyers were not common, said Marina Cannataro, and her father built a reputation in the immigrant community, handling thousands of wills, estates and real estate closings.
"People liked that he spoke their language," she said.
Cannataro was born in Calabria, Italy, on Jan. 2, 1921. He met his future wife, Henrietta Argondizzo, on Long Island; they married in 1962, and she died in 1996.
He also is survived by another daughter, Daniela Hansen of Massapequa Park, and two grandchildren.
Viewing is Friday at Macken Mortuary in Rockville Centre from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. There will be a funeral Mass Saturday at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre at 10:30 a.m., followed by interment at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.