Remembering Joseph M. Mattone, Sr. ‘53C, ‘55L, ‘94HON

St. John's Law alumnus Joseph M. Mattone, Sr. and Dean Michael A. Simons.
March 21, 2024

Dean Michael A. Simons and the entire St. John's Law community mourn the passing of Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., whose strong work ethic, New York City street smarts, and keen business acumen took him to the heights of local and national real estate development.

Joe was the Brooklyn-born-and-raised grandchild of Italian immigrants who arrived in New York in 1875 with hope for a better life. He honored their sacrifices, and those of his parents and eight older siblings, by excelling as a young student at St. John’s Prep, gaining admission to St. John’s University, and becoming the first college graduate in his family.

With that same focus and drive, Joe earned his St. John’s Law degree and soon built a reputation as the riparian law expert of Brooklyn. In the years that followed, working on a range of real estate deals, he amassed solid experience developing commercial and industrial properties for others before branching out to work on his own commercial and residential projects in Brooklyn and Queens. 

Having established himself in the real estate industry, Joe launched the Mattone Group, LLC, a Queens-based development and construction company managing over two million square feet of commercial, residential, and industrial properties in New York, Georgia, Illinois, Connecticut, and Florida. In addition to serving as the company’s Chairman and CEO, he was also Chairman of Mattone Investors, LLC and Senior Partner at the law firm of Mattone, Mattone, Mattone LLP.

As he achieved professionally, Joe never forgot the Vincentian fathers who facilitated his Catholic school education or the Vincentian ideals of community and service they imparted. Throughout his professional career he promoted education and philanthropy, knowing firsthand the power both have in shaping future generations and bettering society. 

Joe was the first member of the Founder’s Society at St. John’s University, where he also served as a founding member of the Board of Governors and, later, as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a trustee emeritus. Continuing that proud tradition of supporting alma mater, he was a major contributor to the building of St. Thomas More Church on campus, was the benefactor of the Mattone Family Atrium at St. John’s Law, and made a transformational gift to the Law School to establish the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law. Since its start, the Mattone Institute has helped to prepare hundreds of aspiring real estate attorneys for success in the field. 

Recognized often for his real estate industry leadership, his commitment to education, and his selfless service to the greater good, Joe instilled those values in his seven children and 27 grandchildren as the family’s beloved patriarch. Ten members of the Mattone family have received St. John’s Law degrees, including four of Joe’s children, his daughter-in-law, three of his grandchildren, his grandson-in-law, and his granddaughter-in-law. Two other grandchildren are current students. 

The entire Mattone family has looked on with pride through the years as Joe received St. John’s President’s Medal, the Medal of Honor, the Spirit of Service Award, and a Doctor of Laws honoris causa. He was also the first-ever recipient of the St. John’s Law Lifetime Achievement Award. Today, Joe’s son, Michael X. Mattone ‘91, carries on his father’s exemplary service to St. John’s as a University Trustee and in generously supporting the Law School's Denise ‘90 and Michael ‘91 Mattone Center for Law and Religion.

Thanks to his unwavering generosity, Joe’s legacy lives on at the Law School, in our Queens community, and in the wider legal and business worlds. With great appreciation for Joe and the life he lived so well, we send our deepest sympathies to the family he cherished. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.