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Joseph Mansi, former UPI reporter and public relations specialist, has died

Joe Mansi, a trustee of the North Shore

Joe Mansi, a trustee of the North Shore Historical Museum, stands outside the restored 1907 Justices Courthouse. (Aug. 21, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

Joseph A. Mansi majored in accounting in college, but a part-time newspaper job before graduation launched him on a long career in journalism and public relations.

Mansi would go on to cover a landmark battle in the civil rights movement and meet world leaders, including Winston Churchill, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

"Being involved with the news was his love," said his wife of 54 years, Mary.

Mansi, 77, of Glen Cove, died March 18 at North Shore University Medical Center in Manhasset from an aortic aneurysm.

He was born in New Haven, Conn., and grew up in Astoria. His family moved to Bayside after World War II and he graduated from Bayside High School. He attended New York University and earned a degree in accounting with a minor in English literature.

But while Mansi was still in school, a friend helped him get a job as a copy boy working for newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. After graduation, he began reporting for Hearst's International News Service and later United Press International in Chicago.

His most prized assignment was covering the tumultuous desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. "He was quite proud of covering Little Rock," his wife said. Before he covered the story, she said, "He didn't realize how bad the race relations were."

He got married in 1959 after meeting Mary Fusco at a wedding.

The same year he was drafted, and because of his media background, for two years he was assigned to the Pentagon's press office. He got to work directly with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, handled funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and met world leaders, such as Charles de Gaulle, and famous entertainers.

"He was very proud of serving in the military and he loved Washington because there was so much going on," his wife said. But he decided not to remain in the Army and returned to the private sector.

He went back to reporting for UPI in Manhattan while living in Forest Hills. After several years at the news service, he began working, over a decade, for a series of public relations firms in the city. He eventually became an equity partner in KCSA Incorporated Worldwide Services, with clients around the world. He began to work part time in 2000 and retired in 2004.

He then volunteered at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and was hired to work as a full-time administrative assistant for seven years.

He also became a board member of the fledgling North Shore Historical Museum in Glen Cove and handled its publicity.

Besides his wife, Mansi is survived by daughters Jeanine DiMenna of Glen Cove, the chef-owner of Page One restaurant in the city, and Karen D'Attore of Ossining; a brother, Neal, of Commack; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Dodge Thomas Funeral Home in Glen Cove on April 4 at 11 a.m. Burial will be in a private ceremony at Long Island National Cemetery in Pinelawn.

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