Longtime community advocate and attorney who fought many good fights for Spencer Estate passed away last month. He is remembered as a man who enjoyed life – as a thespian, storyteller, and tennis player.
Al Ranieri was once a candidate for the NYS Assembly and in 1969 for borough president, running as a Reformer. In 1973, Mayor John Lindsay appointed him president of the New York City Tax Commission.
Born on E. 116th Street in Manhattan in 1924, Ranieri served as a Seabee during World War II and in 1949 was admitted to the New York State Bar Association, where he began a lifelong career in law, politics and community service. Ranieri practiced law on E. 149th Street in the Hub. In 1999, Bronx County Bar Association recognized him for 50 years of noteworthy professionalism.
“He was a good, honest lawyer,” said his daughter Riana. “But he had a lighter side. He was a fun guy with a good imagination.”
Riana remembers that when she and her brother John were growing up in Spencer Estate in the 1950s and 60s, neighborhood children would gather on the porch of their house on Ampere Avenue and listen to detective and ghost stories.
“We would all gather on the porch and listen to him tell stories on summer nights,” Riana said.
“He also loved to play tennis, and was a fixture at the tennis courts in Pelham Bay Park,” she added.
Ranieri was a resident of Spencer Estate for 50 years and a member of the Spencer Estate Civic Association, serving briefly as its president and in other roles.
He contributed monthly articles to the Bronx Times Reporter about the organization’s meetings and activities. According to Spencer Estate Civic Association president Al Carena, he will be missed.
“We are working on naming a street corner in Spencer Estate after Al,” Carena said. “We will be reaching out to officials, including Councilman Jimmy Vacca, to find a suitable location.”
In 2004, the Spencer Estate Civic Association presented Ranieri with an award for a lifetime of dedication and meritorious service. Ranieri was also a member in good standing of the Knights of Columbus and the Royal Arcanum. He performed in community theater, appearing in productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Taming of the Shrew.
“He was fantastic,” Country Club resident and friend Len Guardino said. “Everyone knew that he was someone they could tell their problems to.”
Ranieri passed away on July 10 and is survived by his wife Riana, daughter Riana, son John, daughter-in-law Lorraine and three grandchildren: Louis, Genevieve, and Robert.