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Harry Ostro dies; World War II veteran who parachuted into Normandy during D-Day was 100

Harry Ostro, formerly of Hicksville, died on April

Harry Ostro, formerly of Hicksville, died on April 17, 2015, at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Ostro, a former teacher and football coach at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, was 100.

Darel Ostro said he once asked his father, Harry Ostro, a former paratrooper with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, whether he liked jumping out of planes during World War II.

"No, I didn't like jumping," Harry Ostro said. "But I liked jumping with the people I jumped with."

Harry Ostro, a former high school teacher and coach in Brooklyn and Queens, died April 17 from pneumonia and a stroke at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. The former Hicksville resident was 100.

A funeral service for Ostro will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday in the chapel at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, with burial to follow.

"My hero," Darel Ostro, 60, of Copiague Harbor, said of his father. "He was the best. He would protect you, he would take care of you in every way. He taught you to be a man."

He said his father had joined the Army in 1940, so he was in the service when the United States entered World War II after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.

Ostro parachuted with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment into Normandy during the D-Day invasion and later into Holland as the Allies battled German troops in 1944 and 1945. It was in Holland that Ostro, a lieutenant, took a mortar shell to the head, his son said.

Ostro had brain surgery to treat his wounds. "It was a pretty amazing operation at that time," Darel Ostro said. "They didn't know how he survived, and he did quite well."

Ostro had been an amateur boxing champion, an acrobat and football player while attending New York University before the war, his son said.

After the war, Ostro coached football teams at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and later John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens. Among his players at Lafayette was Alan Goldstein, who later played flanker for one season with the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League.

Ostro also taught physical education at Lafayette; two of his students were future baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and Fred Wilpon, owner of the New York Mets, Darel Ostro said.

Ostro, who was an assistant principal at John Adams High School, retired from teaching and coaching in the late 1970s, his son said.

He said his father met his future wife, Audrey, when both were camp counselors in the Berkshires. They were married nearly 60 years when Audrey Ostro died in 2005 at 86.

Harry Ostro also is survived by another son, Xan, of Odenton, Maryland.

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