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Tom Croci takes Navy leave to pay last respects to father

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, on emergency leave

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, on emergency leave from the Navy, greets American Legion Riders representative George Surber at the Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Home in West Sayville on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, who has been serving overseas in the Navy since July, returned to Long Island this week to pay his last respects to his father.

Croci received an emergency leave from his post in Afghanistan and was able to be at his father's side before he died Monday in Florida, officials said.

Scores of people attended the wake at Raynor & D'Andrea Funeral Home in West Sayville Wednesday for Thomas D. Croci, a teacher and administrator in the Connetquot school district who died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 71.

His son was seen Wednesday night entering the funeral home. He was not permitted to speak to a Newsday reporter because he's still on active duty.

Croci will not resume his political duties during the leave, officials said.

Islip Town Board members, meanwhile, offered condolences and shared fond memories of the supervisor's father.

"He was a total gentleman, a strong man," said Councilman Steve Flotteron, who recalled seeing the elder Croci in the Bohemia Fire Department's annual Christmas parade.

"We all are devastated by the loss of his father," said Councilman Anthony Senft. "He was a terrific man, a terrific educator, a terrific community leader and, most importantly, a terrific father."

Senft said he did not know how long Croci's leave would last.

A wake will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday. A 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, Thomas Croci will be buried at Calverton National Cemetery. With Sophia Chang

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