Joseph M. Basile, 78, founder of realty company

 Joseph M. Basile, 78, of Blue Bell, a Realtor and founder of J.M. Basile & Associates, died Thursday, Jan. 26, of cancer at home.

For 26 years, Mr. Basile was broker and president of his own King of Prussia realty office. The firm specialized in commercial leasing and sales. When he retired in 2000, his daughter Suzanne Bereda replaced him at the company helm.

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Joseph M. Basile, 78.

Earlier in his career, he was a vice president and partner in Tornetta Realty Corp. in Plymouth Meeting and a vice president and general manager of the Korman Corp. in Philadelphia.

He managed commercial properties throughout the area, but most were in Norristown, Plymouth Township, East and West Norriton Townships, and Pottstown. At one point in his career, he was manager of the Cedarbrook Hill Apartments in Wyncote. At another, he was CEO and general manager of Anglo American Properties Inc. in Malvern.

In the manner of many successful business people, Mr. Basile had a personality that could make a “person light up and feel really good,” his daughter said.

“He was a man of his word, that’s for sure,” said Mary Ann Tornetta Basile, his wife of 55 years. “If he said something, he would never go back on it. If people were at odds, he would make it right.”

A civic volunteer, Mr. Basile was a former vice chairman of the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County and a past director of the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce. He chaired the advisory board of the Salvation Army of Montgomery County and sat on the board of directors of the Central Montgomery County Board of Realtors.

Born in Norristown, he was a son of Salvatore and Concetta Pitocchi Basile. He was educated in the municipality's public schools. Later, he studied for certification as a Realtor.

He was devoted to Holy Saviour Roman Catholic Church in Norristown, where he and his extended family had been members for decades. When the church needed a parking lot because of limited parking on Main Street, he successfully negotiated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to donate the land. The talks “took years,” his daughter said.

Another passion of Mr. Basile’s was researching and writing the history of Norristown and Holy Saviour Church. He wrote the anniversary books when the church turned 75 in 1978 and 100 in 2003, his daughter said. He wrote articles about Norristown for various publications.

He was a member of the Historical Society of Montgomery County and the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia.

He collected Norristown-area memorabilia, especially postcards. Two of his cards were used as the basis for murals painted on the municipality’s buildings, his family said.

Mr. Basile enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He volunteered his time to various charities, including St. Mary’s Home for Children in Ambler.

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, Gregory; a daughter, Stephanie Stein; 14 grandchildren; a sister; and a brother. A son, John Joseph, died in 2012.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Holy Saviour Church, 407 E. Main St., Norristown, Pa. 19401. Interment is private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the church at the address above.