Members of the Dix Hills Fire Department mourned the loss of former Chief and past Commissioner Philip A. Tepe, who died Dec. 21, 2013, at the age of 87.
Tepe joined the department in 1959 when the Dix Hills area was mainly a rural and farming community that experienced many brush fires.
He quickly advanced through the ranks, first being elected Company 2 Lieutenant in 1961 and then Captain in 1963. He was later elected to the newly created position of Third Assistant Chief, which he held from 1963-1964. That position was added when the Dix Hills area was starting to grow and call volume began increasing. Tepe rose through the Assistant Chief’s ranks to become Chief of the Department from 1968-1970. He was President of the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs Council from 1966-1968, and later served a five-year term as a Dix Hills Fire Commissioner from 1987-1991.
At a well-attended Memorial Service held at Dix Hills Fire Headquarters Jan. 16, Tepe was remembered for his nearly 55 years devoted service and of dedication to duty. The service was conducted by former Department Chaplain Deacon James Hanly.
Tepe’s grandson, Company 2 Captain Brett Tepe, remembered his grandfather as stoic and a terrific role model who passed down important values for him and his dad, Ex-Chief and Commissioner Philip H. Tepe. Former Chief Ray Mahdesian remembered Tepe as a mentor. Although Ray was Chief while Phil was his First Assistant Chief, the young Mahdesian said he learned many valuable lessons and firefighting knowledge from the senior Tepe.
Tepe was the loving husband of Viola S Tepe, Father to Philip H. Tepe (Toni), Diane Marks, and Elizabeth Finkelstein (Frank), Grandfather to Tiffany LeGrow (Luke), Philip A. Tepe II, Lesley-Anne Marks, Brett A. Tepe, Samantha Smith (Jason), Craig Finkelstein, Danny Finkelstein, and Great Grandfather to Shane C. LeGrow. He retired as a Sales and Service Manager for the Malvese Equipment Corp. in Hicksville.
Information and photos courtesy of Steve Silverman.