By Betsy Scheinbart
Hundreds of firefighters flooded Linden Boulevard in St. Albans Monday to pay their last respects to Jose Antonio Guadalupe, 37, known to friends and family as “Tony,” who died trying to save others’ lives as the World Trade Center towers crumbled Sept. 11.
“Jose was a true New Yorker,” said Capt. Richard Parenty, who was Guadalupe’s boss at Engine Co. 54, based in Midtown Manhattan. Guadalupe grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and lived most of his life in Rochdale Village. He attended August Martin HS in South Jamaica.
Parenty is new to the Manhattan engine company and said he was nervous traveling down to the World Trade Center Sept. 11, “but Jose’s calm demeanor and friendly smile put me at ease.”
Guadalupe is survived by his wife Elise, his mother Rowena and a large extended family. Pastor Charles Betts led the funeral service and Guadalupe’s cousin, Wayne Patterson, delivered the eulogy.
“He was a son, a nephew, a husband, a cousin, thought of as an uncle by my children,” Patterson said.
His family roots were in Barbados and Puerto Rico, Patterson said.
Guadalupe was an artist, an acoustic guitar player, a skate boarder when he was younger, a skier, a freshwater fish enthusiast, a prolific reader, a man of character and a very good cook — thanks to the Fire Department, Patterson said.
He was not a dancer, not super organized and did not get his work done quickly, “but who cares,” Patterson said. “I would take all of these short comings and more to have him back.”
Patterson said he still felt numb from the events of Sept. 11 and was just then coming to the realization that all he had left of his cousin were memories.
“I would like to thank my Aunt Row for raising a son for whom she should be very proud,” Patterson said, “and I would like to thank all New York firefighters for showing Tony how to be a hero.”
Members of Engine Co. 54 and hundreds of other firefighters from all over New York and New Jersey line up outside the funeral home, across the street from the St. Albans Public Library and saluted Guadalupe’s casket.
Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and a representative from Gov. George Pataki’s office also attended.
Firefighter pallbearers carried his casket into the Engine Co. 54 fire truck, which served as a hearse during the funeral procession to Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens.
The City Fire Department Pipes and Drums led the fire truck west on Linden Boulevard. Engine 54, which is based on 8th Avenue and 48th Street in Manhattan, was missing a total of 15 firefighters following the Sept. 11 disaster.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.