If he was not behind the wheel of a fire truck or bus, former Inwood Fire Department captain Anthony “Tony” Romano would most likely be in the firehouse, doing whatever he can to help others and improve the department.
The longtime Inwood resident died on May 20. Romano was 66.
Born on June 19, 1954 in the Bronx, Romano was adopted after birth by Tony DeLuca Sr. and Mary Napolitano DeLuca. Romano and his family moved to Hewlett when he was a child. By the time Romano was a teenager, the family had settled in Inwood. Romano graduated from Lawrence High School in 1971.
Romano began his near 50-year involvement with the Inwood department in August 1971. His daughter Erin Davis said that the department was her father’s “life.” “The fire department and eventually his grandkids were his world,” she said. “He was so well known in Inwood and that’s why he was known as the mayor.”
Department Chief Phillip Johnson said that Romano was well respected by all department members. “Tony was one of the best senior men around and he would take the shirt off his back for any man in the organization,” he said. “He was all about what’s best for the men and women in the organization.”
The Inwood Department posted a tribute to Romano on May 20. “Better known around town as the “Mayor,” Tony served the community for 49 years,” the post read. “This included serving on the Board of Directors for many years making sure our membership was taken care of. Thank you for your service captain and you will be missed!”
Along with working in the Inwood department, Romano also worked as a bus driver for the Metro Transit Authority and Independent Coach. He also owned a taxicab in Cedarhurst. “Whether it was driving the fire truck or a school bus, he always had something to do,” Davis said. “Friends of mine that are my age were posting on social media about how they remember when my father was their bus driver.”
Predeceased by his mother Mary, his father Tony and grandmother Louisa Napolitano, Romano is survived by his wife of 30 years, Ann Romano, his daughter Erin Davis, her husband Mike, his son Ryan McGee and his wife Nicole. Six grandchildren: Jillian, Gabrielle, Tyler, Chase, Austin and Brielle. Many nieces and nephews also survive him.
A mass and funeral service was held for Romano at St. Joachim’s Church in Cedarhurst on June 5. He is interred at St. Mary Star of the Seas Cemetery, in Lawrence.