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Obituary: Thomas A. Tranfaglia

Thomas A. Tranfaglia, of Manhasset, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at the age of 82. He leaves behind his wife Marie of 52 years, children Thomas, Jr. (Barbara) of Garden City and Teresa of Manhasset, and three grandchildren, Thomas III, Kelly and William. Both children lived up to his dream for them. They graduated from college and work in financial services in Manhattan.

Tom was born in 1929 in the Bronx, the son of Italian immigrants. Tom had two great passions as a young boy growing up: love of country and love of the fire department. He lived across the street from the firehouse in the Bronx and would run to the firehouse whenever the alarm sounded. Tom also had another great interest growing up-Long Island. He spent his summers with his aunt and uncle in Oyster Bay because he loved the outdoors. His parents would come to visit him on weekends during the summer.

When World War II broke out, Tom wanted to serve his country and didn’t want to wait. So, at age 16, he told the Navy recruiter that he was 18 so he could enlist. He served as a radio operator and reached the rank of Seaman First Class. After the war, Tom moved to Florida but returned because he missed his favorite place, Long Island. Tom’s life changed forever when he went with a friend to an Irish American Club dance in Williston Park. He met his future wife, Marie LaPlaca, of Manhasset. After one year, they were married and settled in Manhasset.

It wasn’t long before he met Ex-Fire Chief Joe Morris of Manhasset. It was the start of a 51-year friendship. Joe immediately helped Tom to become a member of Manhasset-Lakeville Company #1 on Bayview Avenue. After joining, Tom and Marie moved to a house on Locust Street across from Joe and Anne Morris. Tom and Joe were often the first firefighters to respond to alarms in those early days. For 25 years Tom worked for Wright Hardware on Plandome Road, just a half block from the firehouse. He was later employed by the Town of North Hempstead Parks Department until he retired in 1999. After his retirement he was able to devote more time to his great interest in American History. He was an avid reader and was extremely knowledgeable of the Civil War battles. He was a true Mr. Fix-It for carpentry, plumbing, and electrical problems around the house. Tom was an ex-Captain of Company 1.

Funeral services were held on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Fairchild Funeral Home in Manhasset. The Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department, with trucks from Tom’s Company, led the funeral procession past the Company #1 firehouse on Bayview Avenue. Tom’s turnout gear was in front of the firehouse as the fire siren rang out for his response one last time. The procession proceeded up Park Avenue and along Port Washington Boulevard to Nassau Knolls Cemetery. At the entrance the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department’s two ladder trucks formed an arch with the American Flag flying overhead as the procession proceeded to Tom’s final resting place.

Tom responded to fires with his best friend, Joe Morris, until this summer and was an active member of the American Legion for 12 years. He is a wonderful example of dedication and commitment to family, community and country. He will be missed tremendously.