Riverhead Fire Department’s longest serving member Harold “Smokey” Schaefer died Friday at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was 94 years old.
Mr. Schaefer signed up as a Riverhead volunteer firefighter in 1941. He later became the captain of the Ever Ready Engine Company. In all, he served more than 73 years with RFD.
“He was an outstanding gentleman,” said Dennis Hamill, former chairman of the Riverhead Fire District’s Board of Commissioners. “I knew him my entire career at the fire department and he was always ready to help. He’s just a world class guy.”
A Riverhead native, Mr. Schaefer was born on April 4, 1919. He graduated Riverhead High School before working as a service technician at Firestone in Riverhead and enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served from 1942 to 1946.
He was a World War II veteran and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Van Rensselaer-Skidmore Post 2476 in Riverhead.
In June 2012, Mr. Schaefer received a proclamation from Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s office for 70 years of dedicated service.
He is survived by his son Kevin of South Carolina, his daughters Marie Madigan and Kathleen Schaefer, both of Riverhead, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home, 336 Marcy Avenue, Riverhead.
A service will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. at the funeral home.
Military honors will follow directly after Wednesday’s service at Calverton National Cemetery.
Memorial donations can be made to the Ever Ready Engine Company, Riverhead Fire Department, 540 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead.