John F. Papandrea

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MERIDEN - John F. Papandrea, 79, of Meriden, beloved husband of Marianne (Petrus) Papandrea for 54 years, died peacefully at Hartford Hospital on Thursday, June 19, 2014, after an extraordinary life.

Born in San Giovanni di Gerace, province of Reggio Calabria, Italy, John was the son of the late Joseph and Rose Marie (Mulé) Papandrea. John immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Meriden with his family. He graduated from Meriden High School, Fairfield University, and the University of Connecticut School of Law. For many years, John practiced law in Meriden, specializing in real estate and family law. In addition to his legal practice, John was very active in real estate development, building, refurbishing, and managing residential, commercial, and motel properties in greater Meriden and in Albany, N.Y. John also had a long and distinguished career in public service. He was elected to the Meriden City Council and served as Minority Leader, Majority Leader, and Deputy Mayor during his time on the Council. He was elected to the Connecticut Legislature in 1966, and served three terms. While in the Legislature, John served as Assistant Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, and Counsel to the Majority. In 1969, his fellow legislators selected him as "Connecticut's Most Effective Legislator." John also served on numerous Meriden Charter Revision Commissions, serving as Chairman of the Charter Revision Commissions in 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1987. John returned to state government in 1983. From 1983 to 1987, he served as Chief of Gambling Regulation in the Department of Special Revenue. Then, from 1987 until 1991, he was the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Housing and Chairman of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority ("CHFA"), CHFA's Mortgage Committee, and the Council of State Community Affairs Agencies ("COSCAA"). He served as National Chairman of COSCAA from 1990 through 1991. His innovative and creative approaches to expanding access to high-quality, affordable housing attracted national attention and became models for housing programs across the U.S. In addition to his work at the Connecticut Department of Housing, John was also Chairman of Governor William O'Neill's Blue Ribbon Housing Task Force from 1987 through 1988, and Chairman of the Meriden Visions Housing Committee from 1992 through 1996. In 1994, John was elected Judge of Probate for the District of Meriden. He continued to serve the people of Meriden in that capacity until his retirement in 2004. John was a parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and a member of the boards of directors of the Meriden Boys and Girls Club and the Bradley Home and Pavilion. He also served as president of both organizations. He was also an organizer of and counsel to the Latin American Society of Meriden, which honored him at a 1967 testimonial dinner for his "unselfish assistance as advisor to the Society and for his many civic and governmental contributions to the Puerto Rican community of Meriden and to the state of Connecticut." In recognition of his contributions to the City of Meriden, John was elected to the Meriden Hall of Fame in 2005.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by his three children and their spouses, Anne Marie and her husband, Michael; Mary-Rose and her husband, David; and John Jr., and his wife, Jennifer. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Giovanna, Joseph, and Vincent; several cousins; and many dear friends. He was predeceased by his parents; and by his brother, the Rev. Salvatore C. Papandrea.

A funeral Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 109 Goodwill Ave., Meriden. Everyone is asked to meet directly to the church. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Meriden. The family will receive friends from 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 E. Main St., Meriden.
The family wishes to thank the many doctors, nurses, and staff at MidState Medical Center and Hartford Hospital who provided John with exceptional, compassionate care throughout his many years of illness. For online condolences, please visit
Funeral Home
John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home
88 East Main Street
Meriden, CT 06450
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Published in The Record-Journal on June 21, 2014