Malvernite Peter Zullo — a village attorney, past commander of the American Legion Post #44 in Malverne and an active community volunteer — passed away March 21 of leukemia. He was 75 years old.
Born May 6, 1941 in Manhattan, Zullo attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School and earned his undergraduate and law degrees from St. John’s University. Six months after graduating law school, he entered the U.S. Army, where he spent 30 years and eventually became a colonel. During that time, he was commander of several Army medical units, including those at Fort Totten and Fort Hamilton.
After he and his wife Doranne wed on Memorial Day in 1966, Zullo became a criminal defense lawyer with the Legal Aid Society. He worked there for almost three decades, ultimately becoming a supervisor.
After living in New Jersey, Queens and Elmont, the couple moved to Malverne in November 1979 with their two daughters Deanna, a seventh grader, and Andrea, who was in kindergarten.
Zullo retired from the Legal Aid Society in 1995. Soon after, Doranne ran into past Malverne Mayor, Joseph Canzoneri, who attended law school with her husband, in Nordon Drugs. Canzoneri was a newly elected mayor, and was seeking a village attorney. He immediately called Zullo. “Fortunately for me, he said yes,” said Canzoneri. “That was one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
Zullo had a “great mind,” according to Canzoneri, and an ability to foresee issues from an administrative and legal perspective. “Unquestionably he was one of the most valuable persons in our village government,” Canzoneri said.
Zullo also served as legal counsel to the Independent Party of Malverne for years, and was part of the village’s celebrations committee.
In 1997, Zullo joined the American Legion Post #44, where he became commander, among other positions, including finance officer, chaplain and publicity officer. “He was also an honorary member,” said Tony Marino, a past commander of Post #44. “He did so much for the post that we didn’t want him to pay dues.”
Zullo was a fixture — and sometimes the emcee — at Flag Day and Memorial Day events in Malverne, as well as other public gatherings. Only 10 days before his death, Zullo assisted Girl Scouts during the village’s annual Girl Scout Government Day, instructing the Brownies in the flag ceremony.
Zullo was also a volunteer at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne, where he became a regular usher for the 11 a.m. Mass. “Though he was most happy to assist, he repeatedly complained that he could not get a share of the collection,” Canzoneri joked.
Zullo is survived by his wife, Doranne; and their daughters, Deanna (and her husband Vincent) and Andrea (and her husband Anthony).