Wayne Mastrangelo, Valley Stream’s Sanitation Department supervisor, died unexpectedly on May 9 after suffering a heart attack at home. He was 47.
His death has rattled the Valley Stream community. Friends and co-workers said he had no obvious health problems. Building Superintendent Thomas McAleer, who had been working with Mastrangelo closely on the incinerator demolition project, said he was shocked and devastated by the news.
“He was a great, solid person,” McAleer said. “He was one of the very good guys, a straight shooter, honest, got the job done.”
Those who knew Mastrangelo best described him as a hard worker, a strong leader and someone who truly cared about others.
“He was just one of those people that took the time out to listen to you,” said Christine Francese, the Sanitation Department’s secretary. “He always had time for you. He genuinely cared about all his employees. He knew each and every one of us as individuals.”
Mastrangelo was born on March 27, 1967, to Rocco and May Mastrangelo. He grew up in Valley Stream, where his father was the village’s highway supervisor, and attended Brooklyn Avenue Elementary and South High School. He lived in North Merrick with his wife, Antoinette, and sons, Jake, 21, who attends Farmingdale State College, and Zach, 17, a senior at Calhoun High School.
He started working for the village in 1983 as a part-time seasonal worker. In 1987, Mastrangelo was hired full-time and spent most of his career in the Sanitation Department, earning a promotion to supervisor in 2008. May 12 would have been his 27th anniversary as a full-time employee.
Mayor Ed Fare said Mastrangelo was someone who had the respect of his employees because he led by example, and rarely stayed at his desk. “He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty,” Fare said.
Highway Superintendent Tim Leahy said the two worked together often, whether preparing for a snowstorm or cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. Leahy said Mastrangelo was at work at 5 a.m. every day, and had a lot of innovative ideas for the department, such as expanding the recycling program.
“He was always looking for new ways to save money, make a more efficient operation,” Leahy said. “He loved this place. He loved working here.”