Patriarch of Locust Valley Fire Dept. dies at 85


Pasquale Eliseo, a diehard Mets fan, had a skill that he shared with anyone who would listen. “Pat would call all of the pitches,” said his friend of 46 years, Michael Coco, chuckling. “He was usually right, too, even if the pitcher didn’t [throw] it effectively.”

Coco, of Locust Valley, said his memories of Shea Stadium with Eliseo encapsulated who he was. Eliseo, who was known as Pat, had a knack for knowing people, what they would do and what they needed.

A lifelong Locust Valley resident, he was born in a backroom of a house on Birch Hill Road. He died in his sleep on May 13, at age 85, at his home.

He was active until the end of his life, and his daughter Jean Eliseo, of Huntington, said he remained committed to what was always most important to him — family, the Catholic Church and service to others before self. “He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. “He’d come over to my home and, sitting in his wheelchair, his hands arthritic, he’d say, ‘Can I help you? Can I get you anything?’”

Eliseo would often comment on the need for roadwork when Jean took him for a drive, or note how beautiful the plantings were in Locust Valley. “What epitomized my dad is the great pride he took in being a lifelong Locust Valley resident,” Jean said. “Anything he could do to give back is what defined him.”

Eliseo learned the importance of doing unto others, his daughter said, during his years at Glen Cove’s St. Patrick Elementary School, now All Saints Regional School. But he had to travel over an hour by train to Brooklyn to continue his Catholic education at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, because there were no Catholic high schools nearby.

His generosity of spirit extended to a variety of Locust Valley organizations. A commissioner of the Locust Valley Water District for the past 20 years, he recently ran unopposed for re-election, and won.

Eliseo didn’t want to give that up, Coco said, even though, in a wheelchair, he had trouble getting around. He continued to go to the water district and meetings of the Locust Valley Rotary, where he was a past president and a recipient of the club’s highest award, the Paul Harris Fellow recognition, which is given to those who contribute or have contributions made in their name of $1,000.

When his neighborhood needed him, he was there, serving as vice president of the Matinecock Neighborhood Association for over 25 years and as a volunteer member of the Locust Valley Fire Department for over 65 years. He served as company captain, district fire commissioner and department treasurer as well as treasurer of its emergency medical rescue squad.

“To us he was the patriarch of the company,” said Lynn Ramskill, a 38-year volunteer and captain of the LVFD’s Emergency Medical Rescue Co. #1. As one of the first company members, he was there during the “days of scoop and run,” Ramskill said of the relatively primitive rescue operations of the past, adding that these days the back of an ambulance is almost as well-equipped as a hospital emergency room. When Eliseo was too old to be a medic, he became the ambulance driver, which he did for many years.

“He was the glue that stuck us together, a wise man who had the answers to any questions about the rules and regulations,” Ramskill said. “I will miss him very much.”

James Neumeyer, the second assistant chief of the LVFD, remembers going to Eliseo’s home to help him with his uniform before a department dinner. “There were so many pins and buttons, he needed help,” Neumeyer recounted. “I made sure all was set with his uniform. Then he gave me a tie tack from the 75th anniversary of our Fire Department. I wasn’t even around then.”

It was Eliseo’s way of saying thank you to Neumeyer, who said he treasures the gift, and the memory.

As the owner of Marquis Liquors of Locust Valley for more than 30 years, Eliseo found another arena in which to mix it up with residents. “He was good with everyone because he took an interest in people,” Coco said. “At Marquis, people relied on his advice.”

An Army veteran of the Korean War, he was patriotic, putting his hand on his heart as tears rolled down his face any time anyone sang the national anthem. In his later years, Jean said, he couldn’t remember much, but he always knew his rank and serial number and the dates he was in the war. “He remembered how cold it was in the barracks, knew the names of his sergeants,” she said. “On Veterans Day I asked him what he remembered, and he talked to me about the war for 45 minutes. I looked at the clock.”

Eliseo’s grandchildren meant the world to him. “He always knew what they were doing, and was so proud that they all went to college,” said his oldest daughter, Lori Dalton, who lives in Upper Brookville. “In later years he lived vicariously through them. He was just a great guy.”

Besides his daughters, Eliseo is survived by a son, Mark, and many grandchildren. His wife, Dolores, died in 2016.