Brian Hahn, a former Bayville fire chief who overcame serious injuries to become the life of the parties he loved to host, has died. He was 80.
Relatives described Hahn as a family man who never missed a chance to celebrate a birthday, holiday or special occasion.
"He lived every day to the fullest and didn't die with a regret," said a daughter, Tammy Doyle. "You couldn't have a Fourth of July celebration in Bayville without stopping by the house. Every holiday and birthday was a party."
Even strangers were welcome to have a respite at Hahn's backyard bar, said Doyle, 45, of Bayville.
In 1952, during the Korean War, Hahn joined the Navy as fireman and boiler room operator. At some point during his three-year stint stationed in Europe, he rescued crew members aboard his ship after an explosion, family members said.
Hahn, a longtime resident of the North Shore community, became the Bayville Fire Department chief in 1977, but his tenure only lasted a year. A Locust Valley house fire cut his career short.
As he stood on the roof, attempting to douse the flames, the structure collapsed. His injuries included severe burns on most of his body. He spent the next three months in the hospital followed by years of physical therapy, the family said.
Hahn made his mark as a businessman. Decades ago, he owned a marina and later Our Hobby Liquors, both in Bayville. He retired as an oil salesman with General Utilities on Long Island a few years ago, according to the family.
Born in Glen Cove in 1934, Hahn met his future bride Marion at a Republican Party dinner, family members said. They were introduced by mutual friends, but she wasn't immediately interested in starting a relationship.
But when he dated someone else, she became jealous and changed her mind. Soon, they were a couple.
"In those days, you would go out on a few dates and then just kept going out," recalled Marion Hahn, 80.
More than 400 people attended Hahn's funeral Tuesday at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Oyster Bay. Burial was at Locust Valley Cemetery.
"I'm going to miss seeing him every day; just his presence. It's just like an empty hole," Doyle said.
"He's a man that's bigger than life. How do you fill it?" Marion said.
Survivors include two sons, Brian Hahn, 52, of Bayville, and John Hahn, 49, of Kings Park; three other daughters, Holly Katz, 48, of Glen Cove, Kelly Barbu, 44, of Locust Valley and Vicky Schultz, 42, of Bayville; and 12 grandchildren.