2004-11-19 / Obits


Jack A. Barile

A&P Supermarket Manager

Jack A. Barile, a Rockaway resident for 50 years, died on November 12.

Barile, who was born in Manhattan, served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was a former mayor and Mayor’s Committee member in Roxbury.

He is survived by his wife, Regina Waters Barile; sons, Ralph, John, James and Michael Barile; a brother, Anthony Barile; a sister, Frances Loungo; and nine grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. Interment was at Calverton National Cemetery.

Toni M. Diamond

Battled ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Toni M. Diamond, a former Rockaway resident who founded the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s most successful fundraiser to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) research after she was diagnosed with the debilitating neurodegenerative disease in 2000, died at home on November 11. She was 46.

Toni, who was born in Southwick, Massachusetts on August 2, 1958, wanted to travel the world. She became a flight attendant for United Airlines and had a 22-year career during which she met Rockaway resident and co-worker, Warren Schiffer. Their relationship began during a stopover in Japan when Toni and Warren walked together in the countryside and dined at a sushi bar. They were married, and lived in Rockaway for about two years before purchasing a farmhouse colonial in Gaylordsville, Connecticut together.

During another stopover in Japan, in the fall of 2000, Toni lost sensation in her left foot for several hours. The condition returned permanently two months later and the search for a diagnosis began. After numerous doctors visits and testing Toni was diagnosed with ALS by Dr. Hiroshi Mitsumoto, Director of the Eleanor & Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center at Columbia University.

“Bluntly speaking, [ALS] has robbed me of my ability to speak and breathe on my own. It is a cruel and vicious disease, which is trying to kill me and destroy emotionally those around me,” she would later express. “I have chosen to live, fight, and not allow this disease to define who I am.”

As the disease quickly progressed, Toni focused on raising money for research, treatment and awareness. She was in the early stages of planning the Wings of Hope (later renamed MDA’s Wings Over Walls Street ®) fundraiser, in March of 2001, when the disease took her ability to breathe on her own. Faced with death she chose to go on a ventilator and spent the next six months in the hospital. Warren, who was instrumental in developing the fundraiser, remained at her side.

“For the last three years, he’s been spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year caring for her,” Larry Schiffer said earlier this year of his brother’s enduring devotion to Toni. “It is the maximum commitment of any human being.” Larry and family friend Scott Horak co-chaired the fundraising while Warren cared for Toni.

Toni’s immobility forced the couple to sell their multi-level Connecticut home and relocate to her brother Wayne’s residence in Cape Cod. The basement was converted to a handicapped accessible apartment.

Despite losing her ability to speak, breath on her own and, with the exception of her eyes, move, Diamond remained “willing to put her body, life and suffering out there for others to see,” Larry said. “Toni decided not to let the disease take away who she was, and she decided to fight and bring awareness and money to the researchers.”

Wings Over Walls Street ® has raised more than $4 million.

Diamond is survived by her husband and best friend, Warren Schiffer; her mother, Carol Diamond of Southwick; her father, Wayne Diamond of West Palm Beach, Florida; brothers, Wayne N. Diamond and his wife Victoria of Eastham, and Christopher W. Diamond and his wife Marcia of Palm Springs, Florida; her mother in law, Alma Schiffer of Rockaway Beach; brother in law, Larry Schiffer and his wife Gail and their two daughters, Jessica and Jamie, all of East Rockaway, New York; nephews, Christopher and Nigel; a niece, Kelley; and her great niece, Chiara; and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas Church, 2 East Main Street in Huntington, Mass. on Saturday, November 20, at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Thomas Cemetery on Russell Road (Route 20) in Huntington. Her family will receive friends on Friday November 19, 2004 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Southwick Forastiere Funeral Home, 624 College Highway in Southwick.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Toni Diamond’s memory may be made to MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street ®, 1140 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10036.

Charles E. Hettenbach

New York City Firefighter

Charles E. Hettenbach, a Rockaway resident for 50 years, died on November 11.

Hettenbach, who was born in Queens, was a retired New York City firefighter, formerly of Engine Company 222. He was a member of the Catholic Club, Mayors Committee, Roxbury Club and Service Employees International Union 32-B.

He is survived by his wife, Teresa I. (nee Ramsey) Hettenbach; sons, Charles Jr., James, Joseph and Robert; daughter, Teresa Rutter; 17 grandchildren; and eight grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. A mass was celebrated at St. Genevieve in Roxbury. Interment was at Pinelawn Cemetery.

Michael T. King

Bank of New York Account Manager

Michael T. King, a Rockaway resident for 30 years, died on November 16.

King, who was born in Queens, was an account manager for the Bank of New York. He was a member of the Rockaway Council Knights of Columbus.

King was preceded in death by his brother, Robert King and sister, Helen Mary King.

He is survived by his wife, Paula Pakus King; son, Kenneth King; brother, Richard King; sister, Eileen Venezia; nieces, Teri Ann, Kaitlyn and Melanie Venezia; and a nephew, Brian Venezia.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Camillus Church on Friday, November 19 at 10 a.m. Interment will be at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Maureen M. O’Neill


Maureen M. O’Neill, a Rockaway resident for 50 years, died on November 15.

O’Neill, who was born in New York, was a homemaker. She was a parishioner at St. Francis de Sales Church and was a member of the Altar Rosary Society there.

O’Neill was preceded in death by her husband, Jack O’Neill; sister, Agnes Ford; and brother, Daniel Sullivan.

She is survived by her sons, Ricky and Randy O’Neill; daughter, Patti-Ann Gilroy; nephew, Ken Ford; grandchildren, Tracey Gilroy Giglia, Sean, Neil and Lauren Gilroy and Brian, Beth Anne and Katie O’Neill; and a great grandchild, John Ryan Giglia.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. A mass was celebrated at St. Francis de Sales. Interment was at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside.

Carmen Ortiz


Carmen Ortiz, a Rockaway resident for nearly 50 years, died on Novem-

ber 13.

Ortiz, who was born in Puerto Rico, was a homemaker.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jose Ortiz; and children, Vincent, Raymond, Richard and Elizabeth Ortiz and Alice Rivera.

She is survived by her daughters, Tina Gutierrez, Margret Ortiz, Yolanda Ross, Gloria Perez and Lisa Lopez; sons, Joseph, Robert and George Ortiz; brothers, Carlos Ferrer and Tommy and David Rolon; sisters, Gloria Erardy, Antoinette Rolon and Lillian Mateo; 24 grandchildren; and 23 great grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home. A funeral mass was celebrated at St. Rose of Lima Church. Interment was at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens.

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