A wake and funeral for a decorated FDNY firefighter from Long Beach who died in a vacation accident in North Carolina will be held later this week, according to his family.
Casey Skudin's wake will be held at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside on Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., according to its website. An FDNY ceremony will be conducted at Towers on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by an FDNY procession to All Souls Crematory in East Elmhurst, where a private service will continue at 2:30 p.m.
Skudin’s family, friends and FDNY colleagues will also honor the avid outdoorsman and surfer at 9 a.m. Sunday with a “paddle-out” off Lido Beach. A paddle-out is a floating memorial consisting of surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers and others who paddle out from the shore to offer words of remembrance about the deceased.
“Casey was an ocean guy,” said cousin John Skudin, the former Long Beach High School swim coach and longtime Long Beach lifeguard.
“He was a good dude,” his cousin said. “He had everything going for him and he gave everything back.”
Family friend Brittany Schutta of Long Beach said she established a GoFundMe page on Sunday to help the Skudin family through a devastating time. The fund had raised $32,283 from 354 donors by Monday evening.
Schutta called Skudin, and his wife, Angela, "the most kind and generous people." Her husband Joe Schutta, also an FDNY firefighter, first met Skudin when they were both in diapers, she said.
Angela Skudin gave Schutta a job a few years ago at her Long Beach store, The Codfish Cowboy, even though Schutta was eight months pregnant with her fifth child. Skudin, she said, would shovel out her driveway after snowstorms when her husband was working.
"I don't think he knew how many lives he touched," Schutta said.
Skudin, also a Town of Hempstead lifeguard for two decades, was to turn 46 on Sunday. The 16-year FDNY veteran had been on a family vacation Friday to celebrate his birthday and Father's Day when a 2,000-pound tree limb fell on the vehicle as he drove his wife, Angela, and sons Ben, 19 and C.J., 10, up the driveway of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
Skudin was killed instantly, Angela Skudin told Newsday. Ben, a rising junior at Cornell University, suffered a black eye. C.J. was hospitalized due to a partially collapsed lung and compound fractures in his spine and sternum. Angela Skudin suffered scratches.
Skudin was assigned to Ladder 137 in Rockaway Park, Queens, a spokesman for the department said. He was the valedictorian of his fire academy class and had been decorated twice for bravery. One of those commendations came after Skudin helped rescue a surfer caught in extremely strong currents and frigid water in November 2009.
Skudin was also a Cross-Fit trainer who competed in triathlons, his family said. He had mapped out a vacation itinerary filled with hiking and white-water rafting for his family’s first holiday away since the coronavirus pandemic began more than two years ago.
“He will be severely missed by a lot of people,” John Skudin said. “He was such a big part of the community.”
Clarification: The service at All Souls Crematory on Friday at 2:30 p.m. is private. Due to incorrect information provided by Towers Funeral Home, an earlier version of this story did not reflect this.