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Louis F. Sposato, a longtime Republican committeeman from Oyster Bay, Nassau County clerk and deputy in the sheriff's department that his grandson would oversee in the next century, has died. He was 93.
Sposato died Wednesday at the Avow Hospice in Naples, Fla. He had been suffering from various ailments, including organ failure and heart and kidney trouble, his family said.
A snowbird for decades who spent summers on Long Island and winters in Florida, Sposato moved there permanently to live with family earlier this year because of his frail health.
Even in old age, Sposato would return to the docks of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach in Oyster Bay to fish for snapper, his grandson Sheriff Mike Sposato said.
During the GOP's dominance of Nassau County government for much of the 20th century, Sposato was a committeeman, and for 40 years was the party's executive leader of the hamlet of Oyster Bay.
Sposato began working in government for the Town of Oyster Bay in the parks department after high school and later worked for the sheriff's department -- now headed by his grandson, said Louis Sposato's son, Frank. Louis also worked as a process server in the district attorney's office, Frank Sposato said. He went on to become a deputy county clerk.
In 1994, GOP boss Joseph Mondello attempted to oust Sposato and several other loyalists to the Nassau County executive at the time, Thomas Gulotta, with whom Mondello had been sparring, in what some at the time called the "Massacre at Westbury." Sposato initially resisted but decided to step aside.
Mike Sposato Saturday recalled the advice his grandfather gave him when the younger man became Nassau sheriff, who oversees the county jail, seizes property, handles warrants and conducts evictions: "He told me he was very proud of me and told me: 'Remember to work hard and don't forget where you came from and be proud of where you came from.' "
Louis Sposato was also a World War II veteran, a onetime president of the Italian American Club of Oyster Bay, a member of the Oyster Bay VFW and the Quentin Roosevelt American Legion.
He is survived by three children, all of Florida: Bertha Heelan, Frank L. Sposato, and Patricia Lala, along with five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. His wife of nearly seven decades, the former Katherine Galasso, died in 2010. His relatives include Judge John Galasso of Nassau County Supreme Court and Fran Galasso, a Nassau County police supervisor on the Friedman abuse case of the 1980s that made global headlines.
The wake will be Sunday and Monday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., at Francis P. DeVine Funeral Home, 293 South St., Oyster Bay. The funeral Mass is 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, with burial to follow at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Huntington.