Don Schluter, longtime firefighter and mailman, dies at 66


Don Schluter, who served the Rockville Centre community as a longtime firefighter and mailman, passed away on Jan. 28 at age 66.

Schluter, who had been battling cancer since May, joined Woodland Engine 4 in 1969 and served numerous positions in the company and department, including canteen, the nominating staff, training and drill instructor, a delegate to the Board of Instruction and chief and assistant chief chauffer.

In 1975, he was elected Second Lieutenant after spending two years as the recording secretary. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1977 and served in that capacity until 1981. Schluter also spent time as the company’s financial secretary and on its Board of Directors.

For the past five years, he was on Woodland’s fire council as its warden.

“Honorary Chief Schluter was an exceptional firefighter who was well-trained and helped make us all better firefighters,” said former Rockville Centre Captain Anthony Rugolo to a packed audience during the Jan. 30 wake at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside.

Over his 47-year career, Schluter was always at or near the top in percentage of calls.

“He knew every street and every address,” said longtime friend Bill Kelly.

When he was not fighting fires, he joined the post office and was a mail carrier in Rockville Centre from 1970 to 2007. He remained active in his final years by collecting money from the village’s meters.

“[Schluter] will be truly missed,” said Rockville Center Mayor Francis X. Murray during the Feb. 6 board meeting.

He was also an active member of the Nassau County Fire Riders and participated in many charitable motorcycle events.

Schluter is survived by his wife, Arlene, son Steven, daughter Christine, mother Millie and sister Barbara.