Longtime Cedarhurst resident Anthony J. Montilli was, in his family's eyes, the consummate father, husband and pillar of the Five Towns area, a local man who ran a plumbing business and performed his civic duty to the community as chief of the fire department. He died in his home on Tuesday. He was 70.
"My father was the hardest-working man you ever met in your life," said his son Joseph Montilli of Atlantic Beach. "He was a big proponent of getting your hands dirty. He used to say that a guy who works hard, especially with his hands, will be able to provide for his family. That's my father in a nutshell."
That work ethic was the compass in Montilli's life, guiding his devotion to family -- he raised four children in Cedarhurst during a five-decade-long marriage -- and leading him to open a plumbing business and become chief of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department, of which he was a member for nearly 50 years until the day he died.
Montilli was born in St. Joseph Hospital in Far Rockaway and raised in Inwood, graduating from Lawrence High School. He later began working for Buddy Schultz Plumbing Co. in Far Rockaway and, on Oct. 10, 1965, married Maureen McCloat. The couple settled in Cedarhurst and, in 1971, started A. Montilli Plumbing and Heating in Woodmere. They had three sons and a daughter.
In 1967, Montilli joined the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department, serving as chief from 1979 to 1980 and as commissioner for several years.
He also was an active member of the Leonardo da Vinci Lodge No. 2385, also known as the Sons of Italy Italian Club, in Inwood. Montilli was most recently the presiding chairman of the Town of Hempstead Plumbing Examining Board and plumbing inspector for the Village of Cedarhurst.
Montilli also had served as a plumbing inspector for the Villages of Woodsburgh, Hewlett, Bay Park and Hewlett Neck.
He owned thoroughbred horses and loved racing. He also loved custom and antique cars and was a member of the Keystone Yacht Club in Woodmere.
"My father was always working and moving on to the next thing," Joseph Montilli said. "He was well respected in the community and in the plumbing industry."
In addition to his wife and son, Montilli is survived by a daughter, Donna Arora of Cedarhurst; sons, Anthony Montilli of Hewlett and Christopher Montilli of Hewlett; brothers, Pasquale of Massapequa, Robert of Cedarhurst and Vincent of North Carolina; sisters, Camille Montilli of Cedarhurst and Anita Provenzano of Atlantic Beach; and four grandchildren.
Viewing will be at Meserole Funeral Home on Lord Avenue in Inwood Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m., with a special viewing for all members of fire departments in Nassau and Suffolk starting at 8 p.m.
Funeral services are Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Church on Broadway in Hewlett, followed by burial at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.