NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- John Joseph “Jack” DePaoli died surrounded by family members on Aug. 15. He was 79.
DePaoli was born Dec. 19, 1933, and was one of 12 children of the late Margaret Connell and Nicholas DePaoli of Lake Purdys, N.Y. His father was killed in a construction accident when he was five years old, leaving his mother to raise all 12 children on her own. He was awarded the “Prettiest Baby Award” in 1934 and was named “Best Sense of Humor” of the graduating class of 1951 from St. Mary’s in Katonah. He worked as a master carpenter his entire adult life for DePaoli Construction in Croton Falls.
DePaoli dedicated over 57 years to the Croton Falls/North Salem Volunteer Fire Department. He joined the department in 1956, served as department chief in 1968 and became a commissioner in 1970. In 1990 his was elected president of the New York State Volunteer Firefighters Association. He was a lifetime member of the Croton Falls/North Salem Fire Department as well as the Association of Fire Districts of Westchester County. He was also an active member of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. He was the major advocate for a cell phone tower in the town of North Salem several years before cell phones became commonplace. He argued that the tower would allow local firefighters to communicate better, and thus be a benefit for the entire town, as well as generate revenue for the town. The cell phone tower was eventually erected. He was a member of the leadership team that led to the construction of the North Salem firehouse.
DePaoli served as the first, and youngest, Building Inspector for the town of North Salem from 1961 until 1973. He served as zoning enforcement officer and planning officer for North Salem, and was also an official in the local Republican party. In 1969 he was named Man of the Year and cited for heroism by the North Salem Lions Club for saving the lives of two occupants of a burning vehicle after they hit his vehicle head on. He devoted over 20 years to the North Salem Little League program, having coached all of his four sons.
Besides being a devoted husband and loving father and grandfather, he was an avid sports fan, and had strong political interest and was well versed in world events. He loved the New York Yankees and New York Football Giants.
DePaoli is survived by his wife of 28 years Colleen Foley DePaoli of Patterson, sons John, Mark, Christopher and Gregory; and daughter Jenny Van Der Meulen. He is also survived by grandsons Anthony, Dean, Conor and Brett, and granddaughters Taylor and Toni. He is survived by his brothers Pete and Louis and sisters Elizabeth Barrett, Rose Morvick and Mary Morley. He is also survived by three daughter-in-laws and numerous nephews and nieces.
He is predeceased by his brothers Nicholas, Robert, Thomas and Michael, sisters Helen Russell and Margaret Baldino and son in law David Van Der Meulen.
The family will hold a memorial service on Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. at the North Salem Fire Department on RT 116 in North Salem, NY. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made to the Croton Falls/North Salem Volunteer Fire District in North Salem, RT 116, North Salem, NY 10560 or the Sherrills Ford Hospice House, 7473 Sherrills Ford Rd., Sherrills Ford, NC 28673 in Jack’s name.