The body of veteran firefighter Dominick Famularo was carried to his funeral Mass by a vintage fire engine purchased in 1951 — the same year he joined the Baldwin Fire Department.
For more than a half-century, Famularo had served the Baldwin community, rising quickly to fire chief in 1960. He was also chief mechanic for many years and served as training officer for a generation of local firefighters. He died Oct. 28 of natural causes.
The funeral Mass was offered Thursday at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church on Gale Avenue. Famularo was a volunteer worker on construction of the new church in the early 1960s and over the years unlocked the church at 6 a.m. and attended 7 a.m. Mass every day.
“He was deeply committed to his community, to his family and to his church,” his son Dominick Jr. of Port Jefferson Village said.
Famularo Sr. was born Nov. 9, 1926, in Brooklyn. His family moved to Baldwin when he was 3 years old.
He attended local schools until he turned 17 in 1944 and persuaded his mother to allow him to enlist in the Army during World War II, his son said.
Famularo served in Europe and was discharged with the rank of captain in 1946. He returned home to marry Mary Paoli of Baldwin the next year.
They had met before the war when Famularo saw her through the window of her family’s tailor shop, so he had his cousin rip her dress so he could go inside and meet her. She died in 2010.
He worked briefly at Grumman Aviation before opening a service station at Grand Avenue and Smith Street with his brothers Bartolo and Salvatore.
When the Baldwin Fire Department purchased its first modern pumper in 1951, Famularo’s background in auto mechanics played a key role in deciding on the Ahrens-Fox model.
“My father’s request was to have his coffin on the Ahrens-Fox,” his son said. “Over years he took it apart and put it back together. It always ran perfectly.”
Until the morning of the funeral Mass. After the coffin was placed on the Ahrens-Fox, it stalled and could not be restarted. “We think it was my father’s sense of humor,” his son said.
A utility vehicle towed the Ahrens-Fox to the church, where the Rev. Robert Holz eulogized Famularo as a man who loved God and loved his neighbor.
“If this is what it means to be prepared [for an afterlife] then Dom hit it out of the park,” the priest said.
Famularo is also survived by sons Peter of St. James and Vincent of Huntersville, North Carolina; daughter Ann Marie Lupo of Baldwin; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Burial was at Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.