The Board of Fire Commissioners, chiefs, officers and members of the Wantagh Fire Department and officers and members of Engine 2 regret to announce the passing of Honorary Chief Thomas L. Adams on May 12. Honorary Chief Adams, “T.A.” as he was affectionately known, was a 59-year member of the Wantagh Fire Department.
Honorary Chief Thomas Adams joined the Wantagh Fire Department on March 26, 1962 and was assigned to Engine 2. After serving his probationary period and being an active member for eight years, he was elected lieutenant in 1970. In 1971, he was elected captain and served in that position for three years before going back to the “back step” for about a year before again being asked to serve as Captain. After serving as Captain, he returned to the position of Chief Chauffer, a position he held for many years where he was a very active driver both for alarms and parades. He provided guidance and instruction for many young members. Adams was also active in Company 2 and served in several positions and was an Honorary President.
In 2012, Adams was named an Honorary Chief in recognition of 50 years of service, something that he celebrated and was rightly proud of. His smile was wide as he rode on one of the engines or in a Chief’s car as the department paraded down Wantagh Avenue. Recently, when we visited him while he was in rehab, he could be seen proudly wearing his white hat and saluting those that assembled to cheer him up. For his many years of service, Adams was awarded the Town of Hempstead “Firefighter of the Year” award in 2012.
When we think of Adams we think of two things: first, he always spoke with great love about his family, often sharing stories about his children and grandchildren. It was easy to see how proud he was and how much love he had for each of them. Then there was his sense of humor—T.A. loved to laugh and make others laugh. He never took things too seriously and around the firehouse he was often one of the ones to bust chops on those who needed it, and in any firehouse, both a sense of humor and someone to “keep order” are essential.
Tom was married to his beloved wife for more than 60 years. They raised five children and were blessed with 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His love and commitment to the fire department was second only to his love, devotion and commitment to his family.
Wake services were on Sunday, May 16, and a Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church on May 17. Burial was at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.
The funeral procession was escorted by Engine 2 from the funeral home to the church. Members assembled to pay their final respects as they drove past by Wantagh’s Station #2, passing under a flag arch, which was set up by Wantagh Ladder 2 and Levittown’s Ladder 6.
—Submitted by the Wantagh Fire Department