John Farina, left, in 2015 next to the "doughboy" statue...

John Farina, left, in 2015 next to the "doughboy" statue in Copiague he helped bring to the hamlet, with retired state Assemblyman Bob Sweeney and former Town of Babylon Councilwoman Jacqueline Gordon. Credit: Johnny Milano

John Farina never let anyone go hungry. His son, Anthony Farina, recalled his father constantly reminding anyone who entered his Copiague home to “eat, eat, eat” — especially when he made polenta, his signature dish.

“He definitely had the idea that life was about being happy, being with family, and eating good,” Anthony Farina said.

John Farina, an Army veteran and pillar of the Copiague community, died Aug. 9 of complications related to acute leukemia. He was 87.

He was born to Angelo and Carmela Farina on Jan. 13, 1936, and raised in Brooklyn. He developed a strong work ethic in his early years, his son said.

“He worked any job he could from shining shoes to construction,” Anthony Farina said.

John Farina joined the Army in 1954 and headed off to what was then West Germany. He served about four years overseas with the 2nd Armored Division.

“He was very honored to be part of the armed forces,” his son, Vincent Farina said. “I think it was something that he always cherished that he was able to do.”

John Farina was a post commander for the VFW, as...

John Farina was a post commander for the VFW, as well as an active member of the Copiague Youth League, the American Legion, and Our Lady of Assumption parish. Credit: Family photo

Upon returning to Brooklyn, he met Yolanda Cavalli at a neighborhood gathering with other Italian families. The couple moved to Copiague in 1957 and got married in 1959. Along with Anthony and Vincent, the couple had another son, John.

Around that time, Farina began delivering cargo from Kennedy Airport to locations across the metropolitan area and joined the Local 295 Teamsters. After 25 years, he retired at age 47.

“His philosophy was to work as hard as you can when you're young, save your money and you retire and enjoy your life,” Anthony Farina said.

After retirement, he turned his attention to serving the local community.

“He joined every possible organization that he could,” Anthony Farina said.

John Farina was a post commander for the VFW, as well as an active member of the Copiague Youth League, the American Legion, and Our Lady of Assumption parish.

His sons remember their father always offering to drive other neighborhood children to and from sports practices when their parents were busy. He coached their baseball and basketball teams growing up.

“Even though he didn't have a clue about the sports," Anthony Farina said, "he still coached as best he could."

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said John Farina was his “go-to” guy in the veterans' community.

“He was always recognized as a leader and someone who considered loyalty to be an important trait,” Schaffer said. “Loyal to his country, loyal to his town and loyal to his community.”

Farina always made sure that local veterans had access to the proper services and opportunities to socialize, according to Schaffer.

“He always was aware of the impact that war had on or service had on people from a mental health perspective,” Schaffer said.

Farina was heavily involved in procuring monuments honoring veterans to be displayed throughout Copiague. One of his proudest achievements was helping rebuild the hamlet's Veteran’s Plaza and adding a statue to honor World War I soldiers, who were nicknamed "doughboys."

“He worked very hard with Bob Sweeney, who was our assemblyman, to get what's called the doughboy statue to be the centerpiece,” Schaffer said.

In May, the corner of Ferndale Court and Hawkins Boulevard in Copiague was named John Farina Way in honor of his community service. During the street-naming ceremony, it became clear to his sons how much Copiague valued their father.

“Everyone from the town was here,” Anthony Farina said.

Along with his wife and sons, Farina is survived by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A wake last month at D’Andrea Bros. Funeral Home in Copiague was followed by a funeral Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption.

IDA board mandate … Dem primaries start Saturday … FeedMe: Outdoor dining Credit: Newsday

Updated 2 minutes ago Police: Man shot in Long Beach ... Great Neck synagogue garden ... Westbury public lewdness ... AED devices for youth

IDA board mandate … Dem primaries start Saturday … FeedMe: Outdoor dining Credit: Newsday

Updated 2 minutes ago Police: Man shot in Long Beach ... Great Neck synagogue garden ... Westbury public lewdness ... AED devices for youth

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME