HOLBROOK, NY AND LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Salvatore Nicosia of Holbrook was a giant in Sachem, known for his love of the community, devotion to the area’s students, and work to involve young people in civic engagement. He died on Sept. 2 at the age of 92, several months shy of his 93rd birthday in December.
Because of the high respect and admiration countless people had for Nicosia, the Sachem Central School District reached out to OnSachem to share a special message about the man who always gave back.
“Sal was a treasured member of the community,” said the message to OnSachem on behalf of the school district’s administration. “He dedicated his life to the education of children and adults alike. Never did he stop working towards that goal. After a lifelong career as an educator, he continued educating others out of conviction and the goodness of his heart. He will be missed deeply but leaves behind a legacy of lives he inspired.”
Fond remembrances of Nicosia spread across the Sachem area. Residents wrote about Nicosia as a World War II veteran, educator, author, social worker, and former congressional candidate. Deeply devoted to government and civic engagement, he was actively involved in government and encouraged young people to become engaged.
In the Sachem community, his many areas of involvement included serving as co-chair of the Board of Education’s Legislative Committee and library trustee for Sachem Public Library. In the neighboring Patchogue-Medford School District, Nicosia taught civics for 30 years and he was inducted into Pat-Med’s Hall of Fame last year. He served as the first president of the Patchogue-Medford Teachers’ Association from 1962-63, created the district's first breakfast program, and helped establish the New York State Child Protection Law in 1973. After retiring from Pat-Med, he was the director of counseling services for Smithtown Christian School and an assistant professor at Dowling College in Oakdale.
Nicosia authored “Empowering Our Children to Be More Effective in the Political Process,” which is available for sale on Amazon. He served as Deputy Commissioner of the Suffolk County Division of Consumer Affairs. As a candidate for elected office, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives coming up short in the voter tally to unseat Rep. Otis Pike, who served from 1961 to 1979.
Nicosia was featured in an Aug. 2018 video produced by The Brainwaves Video Anthology, which features “the thinkers, dreamers and innovators; some of the brightest minds in education.” He was also interviewed in Aug. 2018 on JVC Broadcasting’s LI News Radio on 103.9 WRCN-FM. The full interview is available on Soundcloud.
Nicosia’s services will be held at Moloney's Lake Funeral Home & Cremation Center at 132 Ronkonkoma Avenue in Lake Ronkonkoma. Visitation will take place on Sunday, Sept. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 6 p.m. On Monday, Sept. 7, there will be a funeral service at 10 a.m. at the funeral home followed by burial at Calverton National Cemetery. The funeral home has a web page available for mourners to leave a message or share a memory about Nicosia.
Across the community, many are thankful for Nicosia’s dedication to Sachem. Here are several remembrances members of the community shared.
Meredith Volpe, Trustee, Sachem Central School District Board of Education
“Sal was a friend to all, a leader, a person who asked the tough questions of anyone he met. Sal was a man who advocated for all children. A man who wanted so badly to see every child succeed and wanted each child to know it’s good to ask questions. Sal was an author, his book “Empowering our Children” is something every parent and every educator should read.
When I was awaiting the results on election night to see if I had won a seat on Sachem’s Board of Education Sal was there awaiting the results and he told my boys stories of his life, stories of growing up, how his mom passed away when he was 10, how he was a shoe shine and even explained to them what that was since of course they had no idea.
Sal was a proud WWII veteran and whenever we saw him he had his hat on and my boys would listen to his stories and ask him questions.
I wish this world was filled with Salvatore Nicosia’s. I know his body was tired but his mind truly never skipped a beat. Rest easy my friend. Heaven has gained so much today but our children have lost so much.
You told me on that night to never stop fighting for the kids. To never give up or back down when I knew it’s what was right for the children and I have taken that very seriously since that night. I’ve learned so much from you but am so sad I still had so much more to learn.
Thank you for the great conversations, for encouraging my boys and for ALWAYS putting the kids first.”
New York State Assemblyman Doug Smith (R-Holbrook), 5th District
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of a friend, mentor, and community giant. Salvatore Nicosia has dedicated his life to a cause greater than self.
As a World War II Veteran, former candidate for United States Congress, Author, Social Worker, and a lifelong educator, Sal has left a lasting mark on our community and everyone he came in touch with.
Sal, you have passed the torch, and there are many of us who will continue your life’s mission to promote civics education in our schools and empower children to be more effective in the political process.
As a man of deep faith and good will, I know you are resting peacefully in heaven. Our community loves you and already misses you. Until we meet again, my friend. As you would always end every one of our phone calls: “God Bless You!”
Sachem PTA Council
“Sal Nicosia was an amazing person. Full of knowledge and compassion. He cared greatly for all in our community, especially our children. He was always willing to help. Always willing to share his knowledge and experience. He was a strong supporter of the PTA and our mission. He will be greatly missed. Sachem PTA Council extends their condolences to his family and friends. We will miss you Sal.”
Sachem Central Teachers’ Association (SCTA)
“The SCTA mourns the loss of beloved community member Sal Nicosia. Sal was an active member of our school community and volunteered countless hours of his time to help educate our students about the importance of civics and citizenship. He modeled what he taught with his active participation at the Board of Education meetings and district committees. He will be greatly missed here in the Sachem community.”