Ted Rosko Jr., a 33-year veteran of the North Sea Fire Department who spent much of his career mentoring young firefighters and helping retirees down on their luck, died Jan. 9 at the age of 57.
Rosko, of Southampton, died after a nearly yearlong battle with cancer, said his nephew, William Rosko Jr.
"Teddy was a servant to the world," said the nephew, who serves as North Sea's fire chief.
Ted Rosko was a former vice president of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York Firemen's Home, a residential health care facility for retired volunteer firefighters in upstate Hudson. He helped organize an annual softball tournament to raise funds for the home and often visited to check on residents.
William Rosko recalled how his uncle routinely brought bagels for one of the residents. One time, while headed to the home for a meeting, Ted Rosko called board members to say he was running late. "Sorry guys, I've got to stop and get a bagel for my pal," he said.
Born and raised in Southampton, he played basketball and baseball for Southampton High School and went on to work for the town's highway department for 23 years as a heavy vehicle operator charged with repairing roads.
He served for two years as a volunteer firefighter in Southampton before joining the North Sea department in 1980. During his tenure there, the gregarious Rosko served as assistant chief from 1992 to 1996, and chief from 1997 to 1998. He received the department's Firefighter of the Year award in 1987.
Rosko, active in several firefighter organizations, improved training for firefighters in the Southampton area, often bringing in outside organizations to work with volunteers, his nephew said.
Rosko also is survived by his wife, Terry; mother, Joyce F. Rosko of East Hampton; brother, William Rosko Sr., of Southampton; and sisters Grace Dimtrash of Southampton and Laura Holden of East Hampton.
At the funeral Mass at the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton on Jan. 14, firefighters from more than 22 different departments attended, and eight tower-ladder fire trucks lined up outside the church.
"They came at the drop of a hat, because they knew he'd do the same," his nephew said.