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East Meadow’s Thomas Pagnotta dies at 82


Thomas Pagnotta, of East Meadow, dedicated his life to the North Bellmore Fire Department, his children and his grandchildren.

He died on Sept. 11, 2019, in the intensive care unity in North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset after a battle with blood cancer and acute leukemia. He was 82.

Pagnotta was born on April 14, 1937, in Brooklyn before moving to East Meadow in 1973. On graduating high school, Pagnotta joined the U.S. Army and was a reservist from 1959 to 1965, when he was honorably discharged.

A butcher by trade, Pagnotta began working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector from 1970 to 2002, when he retired at 63.

Pagnotta was a devoted volunteer of Engine and Rescue Company 2 of the NBFD for over 40 years starting in 1978. He was also a trustee of the NBFD Benevolent Association and ex-captain of the fire police.

He was still active later in his life and served as their cook from the 1980s until the mid-2000s. “He was always the person behind the barbecue at Christmas parties or any kind of event,” said his daughter Laura.

“He dedicated most of his life to the fire department,” Laura said, but was also a caring grandfather to her daughter Emma, 17, who attends East Meadow High School.

“Without a question, he was always there,” Laura said. “They’d play games and puzzles. He spent so much time with my daughter throughout her youth.”

Pagnotta was married to Camille Pagnotta for 18 years until they divorced, after which the fire department became his second family.

Pagnotta is survived by his sister Rosemari Collette and her children; his son Anthony and his wife Nancy, his daughter Laura, and three grandchildren.