Frank Mazza, the man who was astronomical in the creation and growth of the East Meadow Police Athletic League (PAL), died on Sunday at the age of 56.
Mazza was working security at Saturday’s football game at Division Avenue High School when he collapsed. After he was rushed to for observation, doctors discovered that he suffered an aneurysm. He was pronounced dead on Sunday morning, hospital officials said.
"He was probably the heart and soul of the program," said James Narell, a trustee for the East Meadow PAL. "He ran everything behind the scenes."
Mazza was born and raised in Brooklyn before he moved to Levittown and married his childhood sweetheart Karen. He worked for 25 years with the New York City Department of Sanitation. His son Steven is in the police academy, and his son Daniel attends Levittown Middle School.
Mazza has been the president of the East Meadow PAL for 20 years. "It’s going to be tough going to a PAL activity knowing Frank’s not there," Narell said. "We wouldn't have a PAL if it wasn't for him."
When Mazza and Ed Zilnicki came together to start the East Meadow PAL 25 years ago, there was one basketball program. Now, the league has over 1,000 kids involved in programs ranging from football to lacrosse to cheerleading. The latter is a program Mazza came up with less than three years ago.
"He just didn't say no to people," East Meadow PAL Vice President John Spirou said. "If the community wanted a program, Frank found a way to make it happen."
seventh grade football team, which is comprised of many former PAL athletes, has decided to play the rest of its season in Mazza's honor.
"It really speaks volumes as to what he means to the community," Narell said.
Visitation hours will be at Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home in Wantagh from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Board of Directors of The East Meadow Police Activity League, with the approval of The Mazza Family, has authorized the establishment of the Frank Mazza Memorial Fund.
The fund has been established for the purpose of providing scholarships and financial aid to the children of the East Meadow Community in Frank's Memory. The Mazza Family has suggested that in Lieu of Flowers, contributions be made to The Frank Mazza Memorial Fund in the care of James F. Narell. Donations can be sent to 2510 Second Ave., East Meadow, NY, 11554.
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