Wantagh Fire Department volunteer dies at 101


Rose Swenson, a longtime member of the Wantagh Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, died on Feb. 22. She was 101.

The Wantagh Fire Department serves all of Wantagh, Seaford Harbor and parts of Levittown, East Meadow and Bellmore. Public Information Officer Kevin Regan said that Swenson, of Wantagh, was a beloved and dedicated member of the Ladies Auxiliary for more than six decades.

Swenson began volunteering for the department in 1956. Regan noted that, during her tenure with the Ladies Auxiliary, she was named an honorary president because she passionately served on many different committees.

“Rose was always one of the first people to volunteer to assist,” he added. “Whenever she was around the fire department, she always had a bright smile on her face and genuinely enjoyed being around the Ladies Auxiliary and [the department].”

Department officials formally recognized Swenson at the 2014 6th Battalion Parade, which was held in Wantagh. During the event, Swenson rode in the chief’s car, adorned with a banner that read, “Celebrating 99 Years.”

One year later, Wantagh volunteers helped Swenson celebrate another milestone: her 100th birthday. The Ladies Auxiliary hosted a party for her, Regan said, and U.S. Rep. Peter King, County Executive Ed Mangano, State Sen. Kemp Hannon and Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads stopped by to offer congratulations and citations.

In addition to her volunteer work, Swenson was also a lunch lady in the Levittown School District, which serves northern portions of Wantagh and Seaford. Regan said that she worked at both Salk Middle School and Division Avenue High School for years.

Swenson was pre-deceased by her husband, John, who was a charter member of Wantagh Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 and served as a Wantagh fire commissioner; and her son, John Swenson Jr. She was survived by her daughter, Carol Licari, as well as seven grand children, 20 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Swenson’s funeral service and mass were held at Charles J. O’Shea Funeral Home, in Wantagh, and Seaford’s St. James Roman Catholic Church, respectively. Ladies Auxiliary volunteers paid their respects at the funeral home on Feb. 25, Regan said.

Members of Swenson’s family said that anyone interested in honoring her life should make donations to in her memory to St. Bernard’s Social Ministry or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.