Friday, July 10, 2020
Saint Aidan's R.C. Church
505 Willis Ave.,
Williston Park, New York, United States
Obituary of Peter J. Tennis
Tennis, Peter J. of Albertson age 94 entered eternal life on July 5, 2020. Beloved father of Patricia Tennis Tilley (Thomas), grandfather of Ashley Starkes Testa (Scott) and Meghan Starkes and father-in-law of Steven Starkes. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Patricia and his son, James in 2000 and his daughter, Virginia Starkes in 2018. Truly a member of "The Greatest Generation", he devoted himself to family and community. He grew up in Great Neck, attending St. Aloysius Parish School and serving as an altar boy in the parish church. His devotion to his Catholic faith supported him throughout his life. He worked to help his family during the Depression beginning when he was 10 years old in his uncle's store. Upon his graduation from Great Neck HS in 1944 he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243). As a result of his service he became a Life Member of VFW Post 5253. Upon his return to civilian life he joined the Great Neck Alert Fire Company and began his 37 year career with NY Telephone Co., working his way up from lineman (where he helped bring telephone service to the east end of L.I.), installer and ending his career as an outside plant engineer. Upon his marriage to Patricia in 1949 he moved to Manhasset and joined Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department, Company 2 where he served until he moved into his new house in Albertson in 1952. Once there, he joined the Albertson Fire Company where he served his community as an active member until his passing. He served as Chief from 1975 to 1977 and as President from 2000 to 2002 and again from 2005 to 2006. He served as President of the Nassau County Firemen's Association from 1985 to 1987. He was honored on his 94th birthday (March 22nd) with one of the first drive-by birthday celebrations when his fellow firefighters came by with the fire trucks and chiefs' cars. He and his wife, Patricia, traveled extensively attending Fire Chiefs' conventions and reunions of his shipmates from the Ward. He was a "people person" and made friends or met old friends wherever he went. He was very open and treated others with respect. He was a very giving person. He would help anyone in any way he could. His life was not always easy, especially in his younger years, but his positive attitude helped him get through the tough times. He very rarely, if ever, complained. He found joy in the small pleasures in life, playing sports (hockey, basketball, softball) and watching sports in his later life - his favorite was hockey, then football, but he would watch just about any sport. He enjoyed spending time with friends. His generation may not have had a lot of money for entertainment, but they knew how to have fun. Just getting together for a dance, a picnic, a basketball game or a softball game with the fire department league was a great time. They didn't look to be entertained, they made their own good times. Because he had to spend so much time at work when his own children were small, he truly savored being a Grandpa to Ashley and Meghan. He would sometimes just sit and watch them sleep, he was so in awe of them. We were fortunate that he was well enough to attend Ashley and Scott's wedding in October of last year. His was a life well lived. His friends and family will miss his smile and his famous stories. He always had a tale to tell. His family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to Michael, his devoted caregiver for the past 4 and a half years. He was a gift from God to our family. We wish to acknowledge the devoted care he received from his doctor, Steven Fried and the care from Northwell Hospice Care Network. Because of the times we are living in and the desire to keep everyone safe, no wake will be held. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Aidan's R.C. Church, Williston Park, NY on 7/10/2020 at 10:00 am. Burial to follow at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, NY. Should you wish to honor Pete, the family suggests donations to the USS Slater (DE-766) one of only a few of the 563 DEs built during WW II. Through the efforts of Pete and his fellow members of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association the ship was towed back from Greece in 1993. She is being restored to her 1945 configuration and is currently a floating museum ship berthed in the port of Albany, NY. Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, USS Slater, Broadway and Quay Streets, Albany, NY 12202. Donations can also be made via The Slater's Facebook Page. We bid you a loving farewell and ask that you bring our love to Mom, Jimbo and Pin.
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