Ron Lupo, a big-game pitcher at Commack North High School and LIU-Post, died of brain cancer early Monday. He was 47.
Surrounded by his family, he succumbed to the disease at his home in Hauppauge.
Known for an explosive fastball and devastating curveball, Lupo was a college All-American.
"He was amazingly strong until the last three weeks," said his wife of 20 years, Michelle. "He was working out every day and battling. He was not giving up. It was typical of a man who never lost at anything."
Lupo, who was recently inducted into the LIU-Post Hall of Fame, was born in Huntington in 1965. He was raised in Commack, where he earned All-Suffolk baseball honors at Commack North High School before graduating in 1984. He went on to earn his marketing degree at LIU-Post and graduated in 1988, when the LIU campus was still known as C.W. Post.
Many things happened for Lupo in college. He traveled to China and Holland with the school baseball team, helping to introduce the sport to athletes in Holland. His baseball exploits could never be minimized but it was college orientation that really changed his life. There, he met the love of his life, Michelle Taboada.
He courted Michelle for eight years before they married Aug. 26, 1992. The couple settled in the Hauppauge area, started a family, and had three children -- Nicholas, Deanna and Julia.
Lupo became an entrepreneur, owner of All State Abstract Corp., a title insurance company, with partners Mike Foreman and Angelo Santomauro.
The vision to set aside family time and travel helped him realize a lifelong dream last year. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in September, Lupo decided to take his family on a trip.
"He took his family to Italy and said it was the best time of his life," Foreman said.
Michelle Lupo said her husband loved all sports, but his greatest joy was his family.
"Whether it was changing diapers, attending school events, or going to sporting events, he was there for them," she said. "He loved to watch his son play ice hockey and baseball and his daughters dance their hearts away on stage."
His college teammates remember him as a fundamentally sound, competitive athlete.
Mike Gianfrancesco said there was nothing out of the realm of possibility for Lupo. "I took Ron and two other teammates fishing during the off-season," Gianfrancesco said. "And guess who caught the biggest fish? He . . . was known at Post as making the improbable probable."
Visitation is today and Friday at Moloney's Funeral Home, Hauppauge, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral Mass is Saturday at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in Hauppauge at 9:45 a.m. Interment follows at St. Charles Cemetery, East Farmingdale.