Michael DeNicolo of Calverton, formerly of Flanders, passed peacefully at home on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, at the age of 90.
Born in Harrison, N.Y., on Jan. 1, 1930, to Maria and Gaetano DeNicolo, he and his family relocated to the Bronx, where he attended Samuel Gompers Vocational High School before moving to Flanders in 1942. He attended Riverhead High School and was an active member of both the wrestling and football teams. His wrestling abilities earned him the moniker “The Silverbrook Alligator.” He graduated from RHS in 1949 and worked until he was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1951. He served in Germany from 1951 to 1953 in the 43rd Infantry Division.
Once back on U.S. soil, Michael married his longtime love, Lorraine, in 1954.Together they lived in Flanders for most of the next four decades, raising two daughters as Michael worked as a union carpenter. He and his wife enjoyed many years together in retirement salsa dancing and enjoying the warm weather at their home in Miami, Fla., as well as hunting and entertaining family and friends at their home in Masonville, N.Y.
As Flanders’ longest-serving firefighter, Michael took great pride in his long history of community service. Having joined the fire department at the age of 18, he mixed the cement that his father and other founding members used to build the firehouse, brick by brick. During his tenure with the Flanders Fire Department, he first served as lieutenant, then as chaplain. Next, he became captain and served as chief from 1963 to 1965. During his time as chief, Michael was responsible for his department’s response to the 1964 wildfires that raged for a week through the Pine Barrens in Flanders, East Quogue and Hampton Bays, coordinating 42 departments on mutual aid. He served as fire commissioner for more than a quarter century, from 1965 to 1992.
Mike was also one of the first members of the advisory board that oversees the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services in Yaphank, where training is provided for volunteer firefighters. In his later years, Mike remained active in the department by working as their historian and attending meetings as much as he could.
When reflecting upon his lifetime of service, Mike would always say that the best part of his tenure with the Flanders Fire Department was the camaraderie shared with his fellow firefighters. “Once I joined, it was always in my heart.”
Predeceased by his wife, Lorraine Marie DeNicolo, he leaves behind two daughters, Michele DeNicolo Whyard and Danielle DeNicolo Verzone.
The family will receive visitors Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead.
In respect for Michael’s wishes, donations may be made to Flanders Fire Department, 19 Firehouse Lane, Riverhead, NY 11901.
This is a paid notice.