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Edward Ochman, VSFD firefighter, dies at 70

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Valley Stream resident and 39-year veteran and ex-captain for the Valley Stream Fire Department, Edward Ochman, died on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from complications of cardiovascular disease. He was 70.

Ochman, who was born on July, 6, 1950, was described by his family and friends as a humorous and outdoorsy person, who they said not only dedicated his life to serving others, but also created many unforgettable moments filled with laughter. 

On an ordinary day, Ochman’s family said, they would often find him laying outside, smoking a cigar and deeply invested in reading the latest book. In recent years he was often seen out in the village on ice cream dates with his grandchildren or around nature, on a golf course, laid out on the beach or on a soccer field. 

“He was truly a family-oriented person … his grandkids called him papa and I know they will carry papa with them every day of their lives in their memories because they adored him,” Ochman’s daughter, Andi Katz, 41, said. “He was completely dedicated to his wife, his children, his grandkids, and to saving many lives in the Fire Department. His passing has left a major void for so many people who loved him dearly.”

Ochman grew up in Queens, and during his senior year in high school moved to Valley Stream, graduating from Central High School in 1968. He went on to attend college in Houston Texas at the University of Houston, where he studied speech pathology. After graduating, he moved back to Valley Stream, got married and joined the Fire Department. 

After serving for a number of years in the department, Ochman became the captain of Hook and Ladder Company No. 2. He also served as the president of the Benevolent Association for the Valley Stream Fire Department for 11 years.

During the time when Ochman first joined his fire company, he became close friends with the Mayor Ed Fare, who is also firefighter at Company No. 2.

Together, the two were officers, wardens and Benevolent Association trustees together on various occasions over the years. Their friendship lasted 40 years. The two also vacationed in Las Vegas on five different occasions. Over the years, they both would share in family births, weddings and other major milestones. 

“The fire service is described as a brotherhood, and Ed and I most certainly became brothers, and we would often share in all our family triumphs and tragedies over the last four decades,” Fare said. “Ed was someone that we could all count on . . .  He was the most caring man I ever met.” 

Before and during the time he served in the Fire Department, for more than 30 years Ochman also owned his own business called, E.S. Ochman Painting and Contracting. Additionally, roughly nine years ago he began working for the Village of Valley Stream as a motor equipment operator. 

“In every job that my father did, he always bent over backwards for everyone he encountered, and if there was anything that he could do to enhance his family’s lives by making us happy and fulfilled—in big and small ways—he would do it,” Katz said. “The most important legacy that you can have in life is to have a family that is devoted to loving you and keeping your legacy alive and my dad achieved that.” 

In addition to his daughter Katz and her husband Jonathan, Ochman is survived by his wife Joan; his son Adam and his wife Stephanie; and five grandchildren Jordan, Avery, Josh, Noah and Ella. 

There was a private family viewing for Ochman at the Riverside Funeral Home in Hewlett on Feb. 26. All Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department members were asked to assemble and line up in class A uniform for a final salute. Afterwards, there was a graveside service at the Mount Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers or food, donations can be to the Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 38, Valley Stream, NY 11582