Suffolk County Legis. Tom Muratore, a former county police officer described by his colleagues as being deeply devoted to his constituents, died Tuesday afternoon at the age 75, officials said.
Muratore, a Republican who represented the 4th legislative district, had been battling cancer in recent years, officials said. His cause of death was not available Tuesday evening.
“He cared so deeply for the constituents in his district,” Minority Leader Tom Cilmi said. “He would do anything and everything for the residents that he served.”
Muratore was repeatedly described Tuesday by colleagues and friends as a “true gentleman” who fought to help residents.
“He was a one-of-a-kind gentleman who made the world a better place for all of us, and cannot be replaced,” Suffolk Republican chairman Jesse Garcia said in a statement.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone ordered all county flags to be flown at half-staff in his honor.
“Tom was the utmost professional, someone who was never afraid to reach across the aisle, especially when it came to working together to protect families, our veterans and our quality of life,” Bellone said in a statement.
Muratore grew up in Central Islip and graduated from Central Islip High School. He had lived in Ronkonkoma with his wife, Linda, since 1970, according to his bio on the county website.
Muratore served as a county police officer for nearly 35 years, including 18 years as vice president of the county Police Benevolent Association, his bio said. He worked as a patrol officer and taught at the police academy. At age 56, he graduated cum laude from the New York Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies in Hospitality Management in 2002.
Muratore was elected to the county legislature in 2009 to represent a district spanning central Brookhaven, from Centereach to Farmingville. During his tenure, he secured land for parks, fought illegal dumping, regulated drone use and worked to help constituents deal with bureaucracy. He established an energy utility oversight task force and sponsored a law to provide parking for veterans at county facilities, secured funding for road improvements, and increased awareness about bus safety, among other accomplishments.
He was a dedicated public servant, officials said, and had been working at his district office in Selden Tuesday, shortly before he died.
Presiding Officer Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) called Muratore’s death “a tragic loss for the legislature.”
“Tom was a quiet guy for the most part, but when an important issue came up, he would speak up,” Calarco said. “He really focused on delivering for his constituents.”
PBA President Noel DiGerolamo said Muratore was “a tireless worker who dedicated his entire life to public service.”
“During his years as a legislator, he never hesitated to be an independent voice of what he believed to be right for his constituency, which is consistent in which the way he lived his life. He will be missed by all,” DiGerolamo said.