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Korean War veteran Michael Dionisio has died at age 77

Michael Anthony Dionisio, a Korean War U.S. Navy veteran who once owned his own custom cabinet businesses, died Tuesday from heart disease. He was 77.

Dionisio, who lived in Centereach, was born Dec. 4, 1932, in Baldwin. He was the son of Joseph and Maria Dionisio. The family moved to Mastic Beach in the 1950s.

One of four brothers who served in the U.S. military, Dionisio served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, which shot down at least two Korean MiG aircraft, family members said.

His eldest brother, Louis, served in the Navy during World War II, and his two younger brothers, Anthony and Philip, served in the Marines during the Korean War.

His nephew, Joseph Dionisio, said his uncle was a cook on the Hornet, and loved to bake.

"He'd make these enormous amounts of sweet bread, he'd bake in these immense quantities," said Dionisio, a Newsday employee. "He'd show up Easter with 20 loafs and dole them out to members of the family."

After serving in the Navy, Dionisio worked for DeCarlo Foods, of Holtsville, where he worked in sales. He left the company to open Rooster Woodcrafts on Montauk Highway in Mastic, where he built custom cabinets and opened his shop to cooking demonstrations in the late 1970s. He owned the business for about two years.

Following his business venture, he went into sales and advertising, and also worked at the Deer Park Motor Inn for several years as a night manager.

"He was a live wire," said Philip Dionisio, Michael's brother, a former graphics director at Newsday. "He was a phenomenal dancer. When he was a young man, the girls just loved dancing with him."

Mary Walsh, his partner of 35 years said he especially loved to do the Lindy Hop.

Dionisio is survived three daughters, Diane Mescia and her husband, Robert, of Copiague; Mary Dionisio, of Centereach and Michele Dionisio, of Long Island, Va., Walsh's daughter, Carrie Ann Walsh of Mastic, brother, Philip, of Mastic Beach; and one grandchild, Gina Mescia. He was preceded in death by brothers Anthony and Louis.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the USO in his name.

A funeral service will be held Friday at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. A Mass will follow at St. Jude's Church in Mastic Beach at 11 a.m.

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