in memoriam

In Memory of Joe SanSevero

December 16, 1942 - May 29, 2023


Joseph Walter SanSevero was born on December 16, 1942, the eldest of Florence “Dolly” and Jospeh V. SanSevero’s four children. He attended Port Richmond High School, and after several years of dating, he married his high school sweetheart, Eileen Veronica McBrearty on May 8th, 1965, and together the couple had two children over their more than 50-year marriage.

Joe joined the Port Authority of NY and NJ in 1961 becoming first an electrician, then an electrical engineering technician, a research analyst and finally a Network Administrator, the position he held upon his retirement in 1997. He was part of a small, intrepid team in the Tunnels and Bridges Department that built a computer in 1968 (from parts he ordered from catalogs!) to tackle the burgeoning problem of matching roadway treadle counts to bank deposits. The result was a test computer system that became a model for the first computerized toll system (what we know today as EZ Pass) and he received the Robert F. Wagner Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners in 1993 for his work in advanced traffic control technology.

Joe’s curiosity and generosity helped many people in the Port Authority as a software and hardware technology guru, coupled with his lively sense of humor and willingness to jump in to solve problems well beyond his job descriptions. After his retirement in 1997, he became a technical consultant to small businesses in Staten Island, helped expand senior computer literacy through a Staten Island program,  gave computer support to a senior public housing group in Newark, provided  technical and website support for a United Nations/USAID program in Uganda to promote education through baseball leagues and, most specifically known to the Port Authority Retirees Association’s (PARA) built its first website in 2006 because, well, he thought it needed to be done…and it did! Joe was the hands-on webmaster for PARA (a near-daily enterprise for a job he created) until 2023, when PARA launched its new website. He was an active participant on the committee to shape the new website, and was an Advisor to the Board of Directors of PARA.

In his younger years, he enjoyed team sports such as bowling, volleyball, tennis and dancing with his lifetime partner, Eileen. He discovered a love of the arts later in life, and enjoyed going to the ballet, music and art concerts at Lincoln Center, drag and burlesque shows, as well as over-the-top action movies and pretty much anything on the Hallmark Channel. He adored almost any TikTok or YouTube video with cute or funny animals, which he regularly forwarded to anyone and everyone in the hopes that they would make them smile or laugh. In addition to his love of animals, he had a large number of social causes that were dear to him and that he gave to generously; these ranged from addiction recovery, mental health and Alzheimer’s research to supporting public school teachers, our military veterans, survivors of sexual abuse and various LGBTQ organizations. His kindness, empathy and support for others was effortless and boundless, and as they grew up, he instilled these values in his children.

Joseph died on Monday, May 29th surrounded by his family at the age of 80. His beloved wife Eileen predeceased him in 2015 with him at her side, and he will once again be with her as their ashes are combined together, never to be separated again. He is survived by his son Joseph V. and his wife Patricia, daughter DonnaMarie, grandchildren Kristy, Michael and Joey, a great grandson, Jaxson, and more furry grandkids than he could count, as well as his youngest sibling Joanne, a niece and several nephews.

The world has lost a wonderful human, and we shall never see his like again.

Joe’s charitable contributions, like his broad interests in music, art, dance, popular culture and technology and more, were vast. They are listed below, for those who wish to make a donation in his name. Joe reached the “Angel Donor” status with DonorsChoose, which is listed at the end.

African Wildlife Foundation
American Bird Conservancy
American Humane Association
Animal Welfare Institute
Bat Conservation International
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
Friends of Animals
Humane Farming Association
Marine Mammal Center
Performing Animal Welfare Society
PetSmart Charitie
Wildlife Conservation Society

Bowery Residents' Committee
Center for Community Change
Coalition for the Homeless
Habitat for Humanity International (National Office)
Homes for Our Troops
National Alliance to End Homelessness

Meals on Wheels
God's Love We Deliver
City Harvest

Alzheimer's Association
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Treatment Advocacy Center
St. Jude’s

Pride Foundation
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Center for Black Equity
Trans Lifeline
The Trevor Project

K9s For Warriors
National EMS Memorial Foundation
Wounded Warriors

Donors Choose