Joseph H. Attea, 89, of Williamsville, president of Milhem Attea & Brothers, one of the nation's leading wholesale distributors of candy and cigarettes, died Wednesday (Oct. 1, 1997) in Sisters Hospital after a brief illness.
He was the youngest of four brothers who founded the business in the Elk Street Terminal Market in 1926. He became president upon the death of his brother Elias in 1987 and was active in daily affairs of the company until he was hospitalized.
Born in Behannis, Lebanon, he came to Buffalo with his family in 1921.
A Williamsville resident since 1936, he maintained a vacation home in Randolph, where he was a member of the Cold Springs Fire Department.
He was a friend of Indians in the Randolph area, where he often hunted and fished with them. He was adopted by the Seneca Indian Nation, which named him "Hassan Nowani," big chief businessman.
He was a member of St. John Maron Church and its Holy Name Society. He also was a member of the National Apostolates of Maronites.
He was a perpetual member of St. Sharbel Church and a life member of the Fourth Degree Color Guard of the Alhambra Knights of Columbus.
An avid gardener, he spent weekends at his summer home raising vegetables from seeds imported from Lebanon. He took particular pride in the quality of his crops and distributed them to his many friends.
His wife, Georgette, died in 1946.
Survivors include a son, Richard of Elma; a daughter, Joan Deinhart of Williamsville; a sister, Kaffa Abdella of Williamsville; nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
Three of his cousins -- Monsignor Joseph D. Joseph, pastor emeritus of St. John Maron Church; the Rev. Antoine Attea, pastor of St. James Church, Jamestown; and Monsignor Paul Attea, pastor of St. Sharbel Church, Leamington, Ont. -- will be among the concelebrants at a Mass of Christian Burial at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. John Maron Church, 2040 Wehrle Drive, Amherst. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.