A music-loving Suffolk County police officer with three decades on the force, Salvatore Mingoia, 56, of Shoreham, on Monday lost a two-year battle with lymphoma, officials said.
“Even while enduring his personal battle with cancer, Officer Mingoia continued to serve the department and his community with distinction,” police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Thursday in a statement.
“His perseverance in the face of adversity embodies the spirit and dedication of all our police officers,” Sini said.
Mingoia’s love of music dated back to at least kindergarten, when he brought his guitar to show-and-tell, his family said.
“I think music was his passion,” though family came first, said his older daughter, Samantha, 25.
Despite her father’s demanding job, he never missed a dance recital or a birthday. And both daughters still live at home.
“How could you leave the best parents you know?” asked Samantha.
Mingoia sang and played the guitar with numerous cover bands; James Taylor, the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were favorites. His younger daughter, Gina, 19, a singer, often performed with him.
One of seven children, Mingoia was a graduate of Centereach High School and Suffolk County Community College, the department said.
He joined the Suffolk County Police Department in April 1987 and worked in the Fifth and Sixth precincts and the Property Section before transferring in 2008 to the Crime Scene Section, where he was assigned at the time of his death.
Though Mingoia enforced rules, regulations and laws his entire career, that was not his style of parenting.
“I think he kind of knew that the more strict you were, the more rebellious your kids kind of are,” Samantha said.
“I would say we were friends, you know, I told him about everything.”
Her father’s approach proved successful. “It definitely kept us out of trouble, you didn’t want to make him feel bad,” his daughter said.
And he felt the same way — throughout his life, even as the end neared, his courage did not desert him.
“He definitely was the nicest guy, always laughing, always making jokes, even in the hospital,” she said.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons he had such a wide circle of friends, many of whom he met as a youngster.
“I think he stayed close with everyone,” she said.
In addition to his two daughters, he is survived by his wife of 27 years, Denise.
Visitation will be Friday at O.B. Davis Funeral Homes, 1001 Route 25A in Miller Place from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church in Shoreham. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.