Whether it was running the dive boat Euphoria, volunteering with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or helping to support the Moriches artificial reef, Kevin Osterbery's life revolved around the water.
Osterbery, 49, was found dead in his Center Moriches home Thursday by police after neighbors noticed mail piling up and friends could not reach him for several days, friends and his family said.
"He died in his sleep," said his ex-wife, Suzann Osterbery, of Massapequa Park. "The cause of death is undetermined at this point. He was very much into diving and fishing and started when he was young," she said.
Bill Pfeiffer of Nesconset, president of the Long Island Divers Association, said, "He [Osterbery] was widely respected throughout the dive community. He was instrumental in the creation and maintenance of the artificial reef systems in Moriches and Shinnecock. He was always a pleasure to be around."
Pfeiffer said Osterbery had operated the Euphoria, a catamaran, out of Center Moriches for more than five years and usually carried four or five divers out to the reefs or the wrecks of the USS San Diego or the Cunard steamship Oregon.
Steve Heins, a state Department of Environmental Conservation official who previously ran the artificial reef program, said Osterbery was a key player in forming the nonprofit Moriches Off-shore Reef Fund, which helped create an artificial reef to support marine life and boost fishing and diving beginning in the mid-'90s.
"Kevin Osterbery was a big part of that group," Heins said. "He did whatever he could possibly do to help raise money."
Osterbery also volunteered for diving projects when old vessels or more military vehicles were being dropped on the reef.
"He was always smiling and always laughing," Heins said. "He was always in a good mood."
"He was very active in the auxiliary, putting in hundreds of hours" running boat patrols and serving as materials officer, Paca said. "He received numerous medals and ribbons of recognition for his service."
He is survived by a daughter, Ashleyann, of Massapequa Park; his father, Fred, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; and a sister, Heather Osterbery, also of West Palm Beach.
Osterbery will be cremated. A memorial service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene on Roosevelt Avenue in Massapequa Park.