Thomas D. Croci, an award-winning Connetquot schoolteacher and administrator and father to Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, died Monday from pancreatic cancer.
He was 71.
Croci lived for 42 years in Bohemia before recently settling in Sayville, splitting his time between there and a condo in Florida, where he passed away.
Through his illness, which was diagnosed about a year ago, Croci, who was born and raised in East Harlem, remained "upbeat," his daughter, Kristina Inserillo, said in a written statement.
"What sustained him through his cancer battle and throughout his life was his active role in the communities in which he lived, love of family and friends, and dedication to helping those in need," Inserillo wrote.
Supervisor Croci, who is currently serving in the Navy overseas, could not be reached for comment. It was not known Tuesday whether he would be able to attend his father's funeral services.
Thomas Croci first taught at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset before moving east to Connetquot High School as a health teacher, family said. He was promoted to assistant principal there and transferred to Cherokee Elementary School before he became principal at Edith L. Slocum Elementary School, where he retired in 1998 after a 30-year career with the district.
Croci, who was "adored" by his students, received his teaching degree from the University of Montana as well as a master's degree in guidance and counseling and a doctorate in administration and supervision from Long Island University, Inserillo wrote. In 1968, he married Jo-Ann Croci and they had two children.
Croci is survived by his two children, his sister and brother-in-law Lucille and Joe Calandra of Glen Cove, his sister Adele Smithers of Mill Neck, and two grandchildren.
A wake will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Raynor & D'Andrea Funeral Home, 245 Main St., West Sayville. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:45 a.m. Friday at St. John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church, 1140 Locust Ave., Bohemia.
An Army veteran and member of the American Legion, Croci will be buried at Calverton National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jo-Ann C. Croci Foundation, P.O. Box 131, Bohemia, NY 11716.