John Baptisto Fiore, a Vietnam veteran and Port Washington leader who dedicated much of his life to honoring fellow vets, died on New Year’s Eve at 73 after complications from surgery.
Born Mar. 5, 1949, Fiore grew up in Bayside, Queens, and went to Aviation High School. He was a light weapons infantryman while serving in Vietnam in 1969.
Fiore took part in 45 helicopter combat assaults during his service. This earned him the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Combat Medal and National Defense Medal.
Fiore worked in the automotive industry after returning home. Known as “Padre” by his peers, he was a frequent attendee at Sons of Italy events and served as a chaplain with various VFW and American Legion groups.
Fiore, despite living in Glen Cove, was a recurring figure at local events in Port Washington. He recently spoke at Sal “Ghost” DeFeo’s street naming ceremony in October.
“John’s leadership and inspiring personality will never be forgotten,” the VFW Nassau County Council posted. “God Bless John and may he rest in peace.”
Fiore was the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1819 in Port Washington and Nassau County VFW Council head. He had overseen the ongoing renovation of his post funded with grants from the Dejana Family Foundation. He also sold poppies and solicited donations for the post’s relief fund.
“John worked tirelessly to help fellow veterans and to make improvements to the hall that he loved so much,” Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D–Glen Cove) posted. “He appreciated every little thing we did for him and always expressed his gratitude. One time he told me how excited he was to see me on TV — he said he recognized my voice from another room and ran in yelling ‘I know that girl’ even though he was the only one home.”
Fiore was a member of the American Legion’s William A. Leonard Post 422. He previously served as Queens County vice commander and chaplain, as well as 10th district chaplain and county commander for 2021-22. He also served as senior vice commander of VFW District 10, which encompassed Nassau and Suffolk County.
A son, John Fiore; two sisters, Ann and Grace; and several nieces and nephews survive Fiore. One can make donations in his memory to Henderson-Marino VFW Post 1819.