Peter Botte had a big, outgoing personality that came in handy as a Navy officer and later as an NYPD detective — and also shone brightest with his seven grandchildren.
“The grandkids meant the world to him. He loved being around them,” said his son Peter Botte Jr. of Babylon. “He was away a lot when he was younger with us because of the Navy Reserves, so it was like a second life with the grandkids.”
Peter Botte, of Babylon, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 82.
He was born in Brooklyn in 1936 and moved to Babylon when he was about 14 years old, graduating from Babylon High School in 1954.
Botte then enlisted in the Navy, serving seven years of active duty around the Asia-Pacific region as a chief warrant officer before being discharged in 1961. He also served for 20 years as a reservist.
When Botte returned to New York, he lived in Brooklyn and joined the NYPD. He met Lucy Grandsire of the Bronx and they married in October 1963.
With a growing family, the Bottes moved back to Babylon in 1967.
Botte rose through the ranks at the NYPD and became a deputy chief investigator for the Department of Investigation. He later became a lieutenant in the detective squad of Manhattan’s 19th Precinct until he retired in 1993.
Though his career was frequently dealing with the raw and the gritty, Botte left that chaos behind him at work, his son said.
“He never brought that home with him. At home he was dad,” said Botte Jr., a former longtime New York Daily News sportswriter who writes for Newsday. “He didn’t let his job define him.”
While working in Brooklyn for the NYPD, Botte also took night classes at St. Francis College and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Botte was a longtime member of the Babylon chapter of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the organization's championship dart team. His son recalled friends putting their hands on the family dartboard and Botte expertly throwing darts around their fingers.
He also coached the North Babylon Patriot Soccer Club for many years and was the first coach for his grandson Tyler Botte, who played on Hofstra University’s team and now plays in South Huntington-based Long Island Rough Riders minor league team.
The gardener and avid reader of Tom Clancy novels was notably a “die-hard fan” of the Mets and the Jets — “kind of a torturous existence,” his son said. “We said to him, ‘Dad, life would be easier if you had raised us Yankees fans.’ He said, ‘Anybody can be a Yankees fan. Losing builds character.’ ”
In addition to his wife, son and grandchildren, Botte is survived by his daughter, Danielle Orr of Snellville, Georgia. His son Michael died of cancer in 2011.
Services were held Monday at Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home in Babylon. A funeral Mass was offered Tuesday at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Babylon, where Botte was buried.