Alberto Cerna, age 70, died at his residence in Port St. Lucie on Oct. 8, 2008. He was born in Lima, Peru, and lived in Levittown, prior to moving to Port St. Lucie nine years ago.
He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Maxima Salas of Port St. Lucie, FL; daughter, Jacqueline Wall of Wantagh; son, Heinrich of Rowlett, TX; daughter, Cynthia Lowe, of Sebastian, FL; and six grandchildren.
A gathering took place at Forest Hills Funeral Home, Byrd, Young, & Prill Chapel, Port St. Lucie, on Oct. 16 followed by a funeral Mass on Oct. 17 at St. Lucie Catholic Church, Port St. Lucie.
A guest registry may be signed at www.byrdyoungandprill.com.
Ex-Chief Robert J. Nicosia: 1960-2008.
It is with deepest sympathy that the Wantagh Fire Department and family of Ex-Chief Robert (Bobby) Nicosia announce his passing. Nicosia, 47, lost a brave battle to cancer with his family by his side on Oct. 10.
Nicosia was born Dec. 28, 1960 in Freeport as his family settled in Wantagh. He attended local schools and graduated from Wantagh High School. He attended Farmingdale State College after high school.
In 1983 he met Louise Martin and they married on Oct. 10, 1986, remaining in the Wantagh community.
Nicosia became a New York City Police Officer, earning a firearms range assignment, a position he enjoyed, as he was an avid hunter and gun collector.
He and Louise raised five children. Nicosia also worked part time at a gun store on his days off and this continued after he retired. The extra money enabled him to hunt upstate, Montana and an African safari.
Chief Nicosia, or "Bobby" as he was affectionately known, began his firefighting career in 1981 and was assigned to Squad 1. He served as lieutenant of Squad 1 from 1986 to 1988, captain from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 1993. He started again as lieutenant in 1995 until 1998, when he ran for the chief's office.
From the position of assistant chief in 1999, Nicosia was appointed chief of department in May 2005. During his tenure as chief, Nicosia ran the fire department, maintained his family life and battled cancer, finally stepping aside in May 2007. He was transferred to Engine Co. 3. Additionally he was also active with Wantagh Hook & Ladder and Engine Co. 1 as an administrative officer.
Chief Nicosia was a member of Volunteer and Exempts Firemen's Association of Wantagh, 6th Battalion Chiefs Association, International Fire Chiefs Association, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Nassau County Fire Chiefs Council and was a charter member of the Nassau County Fire Riders Motorcycle Club. At a recent meeting of Company 2, Chief Nicosia was voted in as an honorary member.
Fire Commissioner Craig Craft said, "even as he battled for his life, Chief Nicosia continued to serve his community, the fire department and this board of fire commissioners, with dignity, integrity, honesty, love and dedication."
Chief George Krant added, "When he became chief of department, his leadership qualities and low-key approach to problems helped to mold me for that upcoming position."
His partner and best friend of 36 years, Pete Tannazzo of Seaford, said, "He is probably the most honest and honorable man I have ever known."
Chief Nicosia reposed at Wantagh Fire Headquarters, where a Firematic Service was also held. A Funeral Mass was held at St. William the Abbot in Seaford followed by a private cremation.
In addition to his wife, Nicosia is survived by his children; Joseph, Wendy (Jorge) Aviles of Wantagh, Karen of Mineola, Debra (Tom) Barrett of Jersey City, NJ, Kristy (Joseph) Mallol of East Meadow, grandchildren Alex, Isabella, Samantha, Madeline and Joseph, his mother Helene and brother, Richard, both of Mount Sinai.