Sylvester "Les" Kane, a former Uniondale school bus driver and firefighter, and Vietnam Army veteran, died from heart failure at his home in Richmond, Maine, on April 14. He was 69.
A Queens native, he had lived most of his adult life in Uniondale, where he was a school bus driver for 43 years, retiring in 2006.
"I didn't want to see him go," schools Superintendent William Lloyd said. "He was an outstanding employee who drove a bus and also carried mail for us. He was a proficient man who really cared about people."
Kane was a volunteer firefighter for 35 years and captain of Manor Engine Company 3.
"He loved the fire department," said Nancy, his wife of nearly 46 years, adding that he valued and cherished the "brotherhood" of the department.
Kane followed his father, also named Sylvester, into the department; and his son, Thomas, followed him. Both his father and son were chiefs.
Noel Thomas, a friend and department commissioner who attended Kane's funeral on April 18, described him as a firehouse "fixture" who loved the department and his family. "He was either at the department or with his family," Thomas said.
His wife said that when they began having children, "he started working extra jobs and was up to three [jobs] at one point."
They moved to Maine in 2007 to be near family. "We wanted to see our grandchildren regularly, and that was the only way we could do it," she said.
Kane, who served 14 months in Vietnam between 1965 and 1967, always flew the American flag outside their home, his wife said.
Besides his wife and son, of Topsham, Maine, Kane is survived by his daughter, Kelly, of Richmond, Maine, and three grandchildren.
Burial is expected next month in the Richmond Cemetery in Maine, after the ground thaws, his wife said.