Don J. Dantona, a longtime Lynbrook resident, local businessman and World War II veteran, died Friday.
His family said he died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones in a Freeport hospice. He was 89.
Dantona joined the Navy immediately after high school and was assigned in 1944 to the USS Lexington, CV-16, a new Essex class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943.
Dantona served on the Lexington until 1946 and worked in the fire/boiler room far below deck. He was on board in December 1944 when a Japanese plane dropped a torpedo that struck the carrier's starboard rear quarter, his family said.
During World War II, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific and spent 21 months in combat, according to the USS LEXINGTON Museum On The Bay website.
The Japanese reported no fewer than four times that the Lexington had been sunk. But each time the craft returned to fight, leading the propagandist Tokyo Rose to nickname her "The Blue Ghost," the website says.
In addition to his service to his country, he was a loving and dedicated family man, according to his daughter Jane Grogan, the eldest of his seven children.
"If I had to list the qualities that describe him, he was hardworking, protective and the one overriding attribute was the love of his family," said Grogan, of Lynbrook. "He lived to just love his family and instill the importance of that in us."
Dantona was born April 27, 1926, in Jersey City, the second son of Michael and Jennie Dantona. After serving in the military he moved with his wife, from whom he was later divorced, to Lynbrook.
Dantona was vice president of Duro Instrument Co. of Oceanside, a family business that manufactured pressure gauges and instruments, for 45 years. For the past 20 years he worked with his sons at Dantona Industries, a battery distributor in Wantagh.
In addition to Grogan, Dantona is survived by his other children, Michael of Huntington, Salvatore of Rockville Centre, Celeste Barra of Lynbrook, Don Jr. of Syosset, John of East Rockaway and Paul of Lynbrook; 17 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A wake will be held at Flinch and Bruns Funeral Home, 34 Hempstead Ave. in Lynbrook Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday at 9:45 a.m. at Our Lady of Peace, 25 Fowler Ave., Lynbrook.