Michael Drozd of Riverhead died Oct. 13 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Northport. He was 87 years old.
He was born in Brooklyn June 6, 1925, to Ukranian immigrants Nicholas and Anna Drozd and was the youngest of seven children. His parents died when he was 11 and he and a brother lived for several years at Harriman Farm Boys School, an orphanage in Spring Valley, N.Y. He entered a trade school at age 14 to learn printing and, as soon as he was of age, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Margaretta Oehler, on Feb. 23, 1947, at St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Brooklyn. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and had a 20-year career as a damage control fireman, stationed for 16 years at Floyd Bennett Field and for four years aboard the USS Fulton. In his retirement, he worked as a damage control fire captain at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton and then at St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens.
He always stressed the importance of getting a good education and was very proud that all his children and grandchildren went to college, family members said, and he took special pride in his grandchildren’s accomplishments. They said he enjoyed gardening and was a devoted family man who spent as much time as he could with his family.
Mr. Drozd was a member of the Fleet Reserve Association, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars/Van Rensselaer-Skidmore Post No. 2476, the Calverton National Cemetery Committee and the Marines Corps League. He was an organizer of Cross Sound Ferry’s Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance, honoring those who lost their lives in the 1941 attack.
Predeceased by his wife in 1998, Mr. Drozd is survived by his daughters, Diane Downey of Riverhead, Donna Von Voight of Wading River and Barbara Cline of Colleyville, Texas; his son, Michael Charles Drozd of Baiting Hollow; his sister, Olga Malczynski of Delaware; his brother, Walter Drozd of Brooklyn; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Visiting hours will take place Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A service will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:15 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead. Interment will follow at Calverton National Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Disabled American Veterans or the Wounded Warrior Project.