Amedeo DePoto, the ex-chief of the Malverne Fire Department who was "a true legend and role model," died on June 19 at South Nassau Communities Hospital.
The Malverne resident, who earned his lifelong nickname "Moose" on the football field, was 90 and had cancer, according to David Gildea, a Malverne firefighter and spokesman.
After battling blazes for three Long Island fire departments, DePoto in 1967 joined the Malverne Fire Department, where he would serve for the next 47 years and never quite retire.
"As recently as two months ago he was coming to fire calls," said Gildea, a friend for two decades. By directing traffic and keeping the public safe, he freed firefighters to focus on the job.
"The guy was still getting out of bed at 11 at night -- standing out in a blizzard," Gildea said.
DePoto also exemplified his dedication by learning every aspect of the job. "He lived, slept and ate being a fireman," Gildea said.
The ex-chief, who earned his living as a bus driver, won numerous state, county and local awards.
He was Malverne's Firefighter of the Year five times.
The many groups he supported included the Firemen's Association of the State of New York. And he was the president of the Executive Council of the Firematic Organizations Association of Nassau County and the South Shore Volunteer Fire Departments Association.
"He wanted to be part of the organizations throughout the state that look out for the well-being of all firemen, helping to plan what our procedures are, how we train. He literally immersed himself in the fire service," Gildea said.
DePoto helped win a six-year fight to include Malverne firefighter Paul Brady on the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Brady, 42, who died in a work-related accident in 2006, had been rejected four times for that honor.
"Moose -- you would think that was his son he fought for," Gildea said.
"It is fair to say that Moose dedicated all of himself to the fire service in every way possible," Gildea said. "He will be missed."
DePoto is survived by his wife, Marguerite, and his family.
Services will be held at the Malverne Funeral Home today from 2 to 4 p.m. The Malverne Fire Department headquarters also will hold a service Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass is planned at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne Monday at 9:45 a.m. Interment will follow at Westbury's Holy Rood Cemetery.