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Community Says Farewell to Edward M. Minicozzi, Sr.

Long lines snaked around the corner of the Oyster Bay Funeral Home, on Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15 as people came to pay their respects to Ed Minocozzi, Sr. and to give their condolences to his family. Cars were parked on both sides of South Street. Outside the funeral home were two General Untilities trucks, with the motto, “I did it my way,” on the flaps. You could gauge the influence of Mr. Minicozzi by all the people who felt a need to come in person to say “good bye” to a longtime Oyster Bay resident, a presence in Locust Valley, and a noted Rotarian.
Edward M. Minicozzi, Sr. died on May 10, 2011, at age 70, while in Jupiter, Florida. He and his wife Myrtle lived in Lattingtown. He was the loving father of Edward Jr. (Patricia), Kenneth (Rebekah), and Stephen (Lorie). He was the cherished grandfather of Stephanie, Alexander, Nicole, Michael, Nicholas, Lily, and future baby Minicozzi.
He was the dear brother of Catherine “Kitty” Staab, Mary Jane Kogler (William), and the late Alexander and John. He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.

His wife Myrtle Minicozzi said, “I lived an extraordinary life with him.” If you had the pleasure of knowing Ed, you would understand what she was saying.
Pat Lozito, retired from General Utilities, the company Mr. Minicozzi founded, said he was one of Ed’s first workers and drove a truck. He said, “He was a good boss.” His wife Bella added, “And a better friend. If you knew Ed you would understand what I said.”
“He was a wonderful man. We had very good times together and I have many fond memories,” said Martin Spinella of Oyster Bay. Ed’s oldest son, Ed, Jr. married his daughter Patricia. “They knew each other since seventh grade,” said his wife Wendy.
“There’s too many memories – very good memories,” said Lisa Gioia, wife of Peter Gioia of the Homestead Deli, of Townsend Square. That is where Cozy Realty is located, and is managed by Steven Minicozzi.
Anthony LaMarca, Esq. said, “Ed was a lifelong friend. I’ve known him since childhood and the world needs more of him. He was a nice person. He was good for our community and everything for which he has been involved: the Knights of Columbus, the Italian-American Club and the Brookville Country Club.”
Frances Abbate attended the wake without her husband Eugene, who is recovering from a stroke. Mrs. Abbate said Gene would say, “The town is in mourning because it has lost so much – because he gave so much.” For herself, she said, “He gave quietly.” He gave to the Italian-American Club and when people came from Padula, Italy, he housed many of them, she recalled.
Kitty Staab said, “He was the best brother in the whole world. He was so good to me. He is going to be missed.”
“Bill” Harvey Smith, a longtime friend said, “He was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was a very humble guy. He did a lot of good. People just don’t know about it.”
Amy Cody, a member of the Locust Valley Rotary Club, said she was sponsored by Ed. Although he worked in Plainview, Ed was a regular at the meetings, Wednesdays at the Locust Valley Inn. “He was just a wonderful man. He was always ‘Service before Self,’ the Rotary motto,” she said. Members of Rotary attended the wake on Sunday night in great numbers.
Rotarian Donna Lee, said, “He was big in the Locust Valley Rotary Oktoberfest; he sold apples at the Mill Neck Fall Festival; and he sat on their board and helped them build the new auditorium in Mill Neck Manor.”
Nancy Leghart, director of advancement at Mill Neck Family of Organizations said, “Ed was a dear friend and supporter of the MFO for many years. He supported many projects and events like the Fall Harvest Festival; our golf outings; black tie events and our Casino Nights. He was also instrumental in helping us raise money for our Deaf Education Center, which opened in 2002, by leading us as the capital campaign co-chair. Having a hearing loss himself, Ed frequently visted our audiology clinic and told anyone with a hearing loss to visit us too!
“Ed also employed one of our Mill Neck Services consumers at his company. We will sorely miss his kindness and friendship,” said Ms. Leghart.
Ms. Lee summed it up saying, “He gave with his heart – like the flats on the back of his truck parked in front of the Oyster Bay Funeral Home said, ‘I did it my way.’”
A past president of Rotary, Ms. Lee said, “He was endearing to me and gave me a hand and brought me into a fold when I joined Rotary.”
Ms. Lee added, “He was really a good friend to the community. He took young people on and mentored them in Rotary. Many people that were his kids’ age. He was always giving them a helping hand and offering them a job.
“And he was a good friend to me.
“He was a past district governor and he gave leadership and pride to our clubs. When he spoke he made the project happen.
“Some of those projects include bringing water to a small mountain village in Honduras. Currently he was working with the Gift of Life and the family is asking that donations be sent to the project,” said Ms. Lee.

Ultimate Rotarian
Rotary International District 7250 Governor Gabor Karsai said, “He was a Past District Governor of Rotary and he was a true Rotarian and all about helping people. After 9/11 he gave free oil to people who lost loved ones in the World Trade Tower tragedy; he helped after the first tsunami hit by helping with a school; and helped after Katrina; and helped Japan recently after their tsunami disaster. He put his money where his mouth was.
“Not only with his work, but his money. He was phenomenal to the club with an annual boat ride on his boat. It was his gift to the club every year. When there were exchange groups here, he took them out on his boat too and showed them a good time.
“He helped other Rotarians with their business,” he said.
Overall, he helped people in small and large ways. “It was really something large when he brought water to a village where there was no water at all in Honduras. And giving to people whose loved ones perished at 9/11,” said Mr. Karsai.
 
A Tribute to Friendship
In a letter of tribute to Mr. Minicozzi, Grace and Ray Searby wrote:
“How do we love thee, let us count the ways,
“Sharing a treasured friendship for over 25 years,
“The four of us enjoying many dinners together and toasting with a glass (or 2) of vino rosso.
“Celebrating the New Year hosted by Ed and Myrt at their home and listening to Ed sing My Way (not quite a Frank Sinatra).
“Indulging in numerous stimulating conversation on various topics.
“Enjoying the sparkle in his gentle blue eyes and always a warm inviting smile.
“How do we love thee – how do we express the sadness in our hearts of losing someone who was always giving to others and remained so humble.  It was our honor to know him.
“A void that cannot be replaced and sadly we state: The General is at rest,” concluded Grace and Ray Searby.
Ed Minicozzi was the founder of General Utilities, General Security and Cozy Realty. Past chairman and president of Bayville Fire Co., past president of the Bayville Fire Co. Benevolent Association and a member for over 40 years, commissioner of the LV Fire District, past district governor of Rotary District 7250, former Locust Valley School District chairman of Facility Advisory Board, former board member Oak Neck Athletic Council, board member of Rotary Gift of Life, board member of St. Gertrude RC Church Finance Committee, past honoree of St. Dominic’s Schools, past chairman Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce, former board member of Oyster Bay and Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Clubs, member of Knights of Columbus, Italian American Citizen’s Club of Oyster Bay, Dante Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Historical Society, Locust Valley Republican Club, Man Of The Year for Epilepsy Foundation of LI, Man of the Year for AHRC, honorary board member of Mill Neck School for the Deaf, past president of the Empire State Petroleum Association, past president and chairman of The Oil Heat Institute of LI, past president Locust Valley Rotary and a trustee for Locust Valley Cemetery.
Arrangements were made by Oyster Bay Funeral Home. Firematic service was held Saturday. Funeral Mass at St. Gertrude RC Church. Interment Locust Valley Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations to the Rotary Gift of Life Foundation, 475 Northern Blvd., Suite 22, Great Neck, NY 11021 would be appreciated.                 

– DFK