‘I quit’ was not in vocabulary of Ken Cadieux


From commanding Baldwin’s American Legion Post No. 246 to serving as the Legion’s district commander of New York’s 10th district, Kenneth Cadieux devoted much of his life to helping veterans.

Cadieux, 92, died on Jan. 19. A veteran himself, he was born and raised in Brooklyn, and eventually moved to Garden City, where he found his calling — helping his brothers and sisters who had served in the nation’s armed forces.

“He was an Army veteran from the Korean War,” Frank Colon, the commander of American Legion Post No. 303, in Rockville Centre, said, “and he was just a hard-working man.”

In 1950, while Cadieux was training at upstate Fort Drum with the National Guard’s 955th Field Artillery Battalion, his unit was federalized and the troops were sent to Korea. When he came home from Korea in 1952, he joined the American Legion, following in the footsteps of his parents, who were both members. Cadieux was the director of personnel for the Town of Hempstead prior to his retirement in 1995, and from then on he focused on helping veterans.

“He never said, ‘I quit,’” Colon said. “He always kept on going.”

Cadieux was a member of the United Veterans Organization; the Long Island National Cemetery Memorial Organization; the Nassau County Veterans Advisory Board, Monument Committee and Homeless Veterans Project; and Forty & Eight, veterans group that sponsors a nursing scholarship program. He was also a longtime member of the Baldwin American Legion. In 2014, he was named commander of the state Legion’s 10th district, which encompasses Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.

“As I got to move up the ranks at the American Legion, that’s how I met Kenny,” Colon recounted. “And we did a lot of stuff together not only for the American Legion, but also for the other groups that he was part of.”

Colon recalls how Cadieux helped many homeless vets. They both collected more than 100 bags of clothing, and donated it to the United Veterans Beacon House in Suffolk. Colon said that Cadieux’s house — he lived in Rockville Centre at the time — was the “central collection location” for the American Legion of Nassau County, so locals would give of items to him for donation.

“He would collect wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, you name it,” Colon said. “He did a whole bunch of work for the veterans.”

Colon remembers driving with Cadieux in Colon’s truck to Staten Island to pick up a donated electric wheelchair. They drove all over in that truck, collecting donations, and Colon said he would always remember the time they spent together.

“He’s going to be sorely missed,” Colon said. “He was my best friend, so I’m really going to miss him.”

Colon said that Cadieux cared about his community, and “always did the right thing.”

“He did a lot,” his friend added. “There was no stopping. He never stopped. He kept on going.”

“To say that our friend was a pillar of the veterans’ community would not be overstating his service,” Post 246 posted on Facebook. “He was a recipient of the Nassau County Distinguished Veteran Service Award in 2016, and served as a leader of more veteran committees than can be summarized here.”

Following a funeral service at Macken Mortuary in Rockville Centre, last Saturday, Cadieux was buried in Greenfield Cemetery, in Hempstead.

His wife, Geraldine, died in 2008. He was a devoted father to Phillip, Christopher and Maria Cadieux; Margaret DiMeo (Mark); Carol Gray (Charles); and Olga Matheu (Miguel); the brother of Roland and Carol Cadieux; and the grandfather of Alexis Huezo; Danielle and Ryan Mann, Tessa and Vinny DiMeo, Emma and Matt DiMeo, and Caroline and Kenny Thorp.