Michael Robert Luckow was a quintessential family man: dedicated to his wife and devoted to their three sons.
"He put his family before everything," Carolyn Luckow, his wife, said Friday. "He would never give up an opportunity to spend time with his children. He couldn't have been more caring and giving and he made me feel like I was the only woman on the planet."
Luckow, of Huntington, died unexpectedly on June 20, Father's Day. The cause of death is unknown. He was 44.
"Some think it's cruel he should be taken on Father's Day," said Carolyn Luckow, who also had a birthday June 20. "But to me Father's Day is about celebrating and honoring a great father and that's what we did: celebrated his life."
Eldest son Hunter, 12, said his father was a man to be admired and he plans to follow the examples his father set for him and his brothers, Luke, 9, and Shane, 4.
"He was a gentleman," Hunter said. "I want to be just as forgiving and strong; the list goes on and on."
Born in Paramus, N.J., Luckow attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J., and then St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he received a degree in finance in 1987. At the time of his death he was an executive at MetLife in Garden City.
Carolyn Luckow said it was love at first sight with her husband, whom she met at a South Street Seaport restaurant in 1991. "It was a girls' night out; there were to be no men involved," Luckow said. "But then he came through the door and I said, 'Look at that guy's eyes.' He introduced himself and that was it. It went on from there."
The couple moved to Huntington about a month before Hunter's birth. "He was happy to come," Carolyn Luckow said. "It's such a great community that had a lot to offer. He fell right in."
Michael Luckow was active in coaching his children's teams and in his wife's spinal cord foundation, Lucky Laces, a nonprofit organization that helps raise awareness and support for those whose lives have been affected by a spinal cord injury. He also was the vice president of the Huntington Village Lacrosse Club, an organization that introduces lacrosse to local kids. His wife said he became so enthralled with lacrosse that he joined a 40-and-over lacrosse league.
In addition to his wife and children, Luckow is survived by his parents, Michael and Janet Luckow of Paramus, and a sister, Lisa Clark of Ridgewood, N.J.
A funeral was held June 23 at St. Patrick's Church in Huntington. Burial was at St. Patrick's Cemetery.