Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello ordered flags flown at half-staff Tuesday in honor of City Councilman Nicholas DiLeo Sr., who died Monday night after being stricken at home by an apparent heart attack.
"Glen Cove has lost a good friend, a great leader and one of its favorite sons," Spinello said in a statement. DiLeo was the "voice of calm and reason when dealing with the complex issues confronting our city."
DiLeo was 56.
Former Mayor Ralph Suozzi said he was devastated to lose a friend of more than 40 years. "He was a brother to me, and I loved him," Suozzi said in an email. "We proudly served side-by-side during some of the most challenging times our community has ever faced."
A third generation Glen Cove resident, DiLeo was a buoyant presence on the city council and in the city, where he was remembered as an affable wisecracker who always asked about others' families. He was a regular presence downtown, where he worked out of his insurance office, C.A.M. Associates Inc.
He was a past president of the Glen Cove Rotary Club and served on the city planning board before being elected to the city council as a Democrat in 2005. He also served as an official at St. Rocco's Roman Catholic Church in Glen Cove.
City Councilman Timothy Tenke said DiLeo played key roles changing the city's zoning to preserve the Pratt Mansion and make progress on the waterfront redevelopment. "His main goal was to do what was right," he said.
"He was never at a loss to say something funny," said Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton. "I used to break his chops a lot, and he used to break mine right back."
Councilman Michael Famiglietti described him as the ultimate family man. "The thing that impressed me the most about Nick is that his family came first," he said.DiLeo's widow, Deborah, said they met as students at C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, and she fell for his outgoing personality.
"He worked hard, and the rest of the time was spent with family," she said. "We did everything together, every minute . . . all the time."
He loved cooking Sunday dinners and had a pizza oven installed in their home. "He loved to cook for everyone," she said. "Nick could make anything; he made unbelievable food."
DiLeo had said he was blessed to live across the street from his daughter, who had his second granddaughter last month. "It was beautiful that Nick got to see her," Deborah said.
DiLeo appeared healthy and energetic at a city pre-council meeting last week, but friends said he had not been feeling well during the weekend. He died after being rushed to Glen Cove Hospital. Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton said an autopsy was being performed.
In addition to wife, he is survived by a daughter, Danielle DiLeo Eschenauer, and a son, Nicholas Jr., both of Glen Cove; two brothers, Michael of Glen Cove and Rocco of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; and two grandchildren, Emery and Lyla.
Viewing will be held at Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass is planned for Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Rocco's, followed by burial at Locust Valley Cemetery.
With Zachary Dowdy