Charles Martone, who started the East Islip football team in...

Charles Martone, who started the East Islip football team in 1954 and later coached at Hempstead and Mepham high schools, died of a heart attack at his home in New Jersey on Thursday, Oct. 30. He was 84.

Charles Martone came from a family of football innovators. The youngest of three, Martone and his two brothers, Marc and Joe, all started high school football programs on Long Island. Charles' contribution came in 1954 when he brought the game to East Islip.

Later, Charles would coach Mepham, where once, in 1973, he faced Marc, who began the Carey football program, for a brotherly battle for the ages -- or so the press clippings said.

"Carey won in a close game. People thought the competition was great," Marc, 88, of Ridge said. "But I really didn't look forward to playing my brother. We'd have rather beat up on other people than take it out on each other."

That was the kind of family love and admiration that was important to Charles, who died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. He was 84.

The strong family devotion led Martone and his two brothers to found the Martone Award in memory of their late father, Al, who died in 1974 and was active in youth sports. The award is still given to the best lineman in Nassau County.

Martone was a lineman at Glen Cove High School and was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. He attended Albright College, where he was a football co-captain for two seasons and pitched on the baseball team.

Nicknamed "Hook" because of his strength on the mound in high school, the lefthanded Martone went 21-7 in college and tossed a no-hitter. He also hit .384.

After deciding against a low-paying minor league baseball deal with the New York Giants, Martone graduated from Albright in 1952 and began teaching social studies in Swedesboro, New Jersey, where he coached the high school football team to three undefeated seasons.

In 1954, Martone moved to Bay Shore and began a teaching career that took him to East Islip, Lawrence, Hempstead and Mepham, where he stayed until his retirement in 1987.

Martone also coached baseball and wrestling at Hempstead and softball and bowling at Mepham. But his true love was always football.

"He was enthusiastic and dedicated," daughter Virginia Lutter, 55, of Freeport said. "He cared a lot about his players and tried to help them any way he could."

Martone is survived by his second wife of 21 years, Barbara; brother Marc; four children, James of Tarpon Springs, Florida, Nancy of Titusville, New Jersey, Lutter, and John of Dacula, Georgia; two stepchildren, Stephen Braccio of Swedesboro, New Jersey, and Donna Favilla of Medford Lakes, New Jersey; two sisters-in-law; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for Thursday at the Zion Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor City. A wake will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a funeral at 4 p.m. Martone will be cremated and buried at Egg Harbor City Cemetery next to his first wife, Nancy, who died of cancer in 1993, at a date yet to be determined.

The family requested donations be made to the Charles Martone Memorial Fund honoring the most outstanding Glen Cove senior football lineman. Donations can be paid to Glen Cove High School Booster Club and mailed to Peter Kopecky, Head Coach, Glen Cove High School, 150 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove, NY 11542. This is the first year of the fund.

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