Being named the St. Liberata honoree is especially important to Steve, Jean, and their children because this honor highlights the importance of family, community, and the Italian heritage. Steve Fuoco is humbled to join such an esteemed group of prior honorees who he respects and admires.
Fuoco was born and raised in East Patchogue with his brother Louis and two sisters, Mary Jo and Beth Ann. His father, Louis “Buddy” Fuoco, was Italian on the Fuoco side and West Sayville Dutch from grandma Gert DeDreu. His mother, Josephine (Palermo-Stephani) Fuoco, is 100 percent Italian. So, Steve was raised a Roman Catholic, eating and living Italian every day.
Fuoco’s Italian roots began with his paternal grandfather Antonio Fuoco coming to America in 1895 from southern Italy. Antonio raised five kids, including Steve’s grandfather, Louie Fuoco Sr, and Steve’s beloved aunts Lizzie and Mamie, and uncles Jim and Mike. Fuoco’s mother’s family also came from Italy, but a little later. Fuoco boasts hundreds of uncles, aunts, and cousins on both sides, which gave Fuoco many amazing role models who taught Fuoco about the Italian heritage, the importance of a strong work ethic, community service, and to treat others the way that you want to be treated.
As a kid, Fuoco attended Camp Read in Patchogue and often visited Patchogue’s Main Street on one of his grandfather’s Fuoco buses. His love of Patchogue was reinforced when he attended Seton Hall High School, where he started his community service as president of their Key Club. After college at Stony Brook, Fuoco married Jean Hawley of Patchogue in 1982, which blessed Fuoco with two more brothers, Jimmy and John Hawley. Steve and Jean then moved to Patchogue Village in 1986.
Fuoco’s sister Beth Ann was born with spina bifida, and it impacted the family in fortuitous ways. The Fuoco family believes that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade (and Steve likes to add tequila!). To honor Beth, Fuoco’s grandfather and father started the Fuoco Golf Feastival in 1969 to support Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a summer camp for special-needs kids, where Beth attended for more than 15 years. Sadly, they lost Beth a few years ago, but her spirit lives on through the event.
The Brookhaven Italian American Service Club, of which many Fuocos were members, initially sponsored the Fuoco Golf Feastival. Not coincidentally, the Feastival is famous for serving an abundance of Italian food and wine to their golfers. Years later, the Rotary Club of Patchogue became the sponsor, and still is today. The Feastival, with the efforts of both organizations, the Fuoco family, and their friends, is responsible for donating more than $2,000,000 to the camp. Fuoco’s grandfather was a Bellport Rotarian, his father was a Patchogue Kiwanian, and Fuoco remains a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Patchogue. Steve and Jean are most proud to have both won the Paul Harris Award from Rotary.
They raised three children, Katy, Jimmy, and Michael in Patchogue Village. They all graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School, and various colleges as well. Katy and her husband Alex live in Baldwin with their two daughters, Evie, Jean, and Lucy James. Jimmy lives in Brooklyn and Michael lives in downtown Patchogue. Steve and Jean are proud of their kids for everything they do, but especially for taking over the Fuoco Golf Feastival as the fourth generation of family chairpersons.
In addition to having chaired the Fuoco Golf Feastival for over 30 years, Fuoco is a longtime member of the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and was a board member in the early years of the Business Improvement District. Plus, in 1996 he was elected Patchogue Village trustee, with David Kennedy, Roy Donato, and mayor Steve Keegan at the head of the ticket. Along with sitting trustees Lynn Davis, Peter Mosco and Ed Ihne, the unstoppable mayor Keegan led this team to reopen the Patchogue Theatre, redevelop the Lace Mill property, fill the Breslin property, and close abusive rooming houses. Later, as a member of the newly formed Patchogue First party, Fuoco helped elect mayor Pontieri and his team, who have transformed our village in almost miraculous ways.
Fuoco coached PYAA, the in-house baseball Rotary Roadrunners Little League squad, for more than 10 years; in addition, he managed the PYAA Nighthawks travel team to three consecutive Brookhaven Town championships. Those experiences and friendships are priceless to Fuoco and his family.
Fuoco currently serves as president of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment and works closely with Adrienne Esposito and her team to protect our waterways and to fight climate change throughout the region.
Professionally, Fuoco studied economics and started Fuoco Financial Services, along with the Bruce and Brian Quatrale. This was followed by a career as an insurance and employee benefits broker, landing at Bradley & Parker in Melville as one of its current principals. Fuoco is now a certified insurance counselor as well as a certified risk manager, specializing in protecting the assets of established companies and families.
For fun, Fuoco spends time with family, roots for the New York Yankees, plays golf and ping-pong with his Reese’s Athletic Club brothers and other friends, and does some biking and hiking. Jean and Steve enjoy traveling and spending time at their family home in Davis Park. They are planning their second trip to Italy in 2023, this time with the whole family. The trip will be the first time that any Fuoco has returned to their ancestral home in Parenti since great-grandpa Antonio left in 1895!
In closing, this honor is dedicated to Steve’s wife Jean, whose support has been immeasurable. And, also to the memory of Steve’s dad Buddy, sister Beth, Uncle Jim, mother-in-law Flo, plus so many other family role models who give him inspiration.
“I am very excited; it really is a nice honor and I am surprised to receive it,” he said after finding out he was selected. “I am very, very happy and very proud.”
He plans to march with his family, wife, three children, his mother, sister, brother and two grandchildren. The reception will be hosted at the Harbor Crab on July 19 at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale on Patchogue.com for $25. St. Liberata Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10 at noon.
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