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May 4, 2010 5:22 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Benjamin W. Lupia, long-time member of the Hampton Bays Fire Department, dies at 96

May 4, 2010 5:22 PM

Benjamin W. Lupia, a volunteer with the Hampton Bays Fire Department for 73 years and a former chief, used to say that he would live to see his grandson become his chief.

He was right.

This January, Stefan Borell was sworn in to the top post at the fire department, four months before Mr. Lupia, his grandfather, died on April 26 at the age of 96.

Mr. Lupia, who lived most of his life in a house across the street from the Montauk Highway firehouse, was an active member of the department until shortly before his death. In recent years, he served with the fire police, stopping traffic as fire trucks sped along to answer alarms.

He joined the fire department in 1937, seven years after it was founded, and served under every single chief in the department’s history including, briefly, his grandson, Mr. Borell. Mr. Lupia served as chief himself between 1954 and 1957.

“Ben was a man that would not drag things out,” said Peter Goetzfried, who volunteers as a cook for the Hampton Bays Fire Department. “He just said things as they were. He was very sincere.”

A carpenter by trade, Mr. Lupia was also an avid fisherman and could be found nearly every day on the docks of the Shinnecock Canal with his fishing pole, according to his family. He would almost always give his catch away to friends and neighbors at the end of the day, according to his daughter, Barbara Borell of Hampton Bays.

She said her father remained sharp and talkative into his old age. “If he knew somebody, he would chat with them without a doubt,” she said.

Ms. Borell said she and her husband, also named Stefan, had taken Mr. Lupia with them on vacations to an RV park in Florida every year since 2002. She noted that Mr. Lupia would ride his three-wheel bicycle, complete with a rod holder, to a nearby pond where he would spend the day fishing.

Mr. Lupia was born in Riverhead in 1914. He dropped out of school in eighth grade and went to work in order to support his family, according to Val Scott, a longtime friend of Mr. Lupia whose family owns J. Ronald Scott Funeral Home in Hampton Bays, which was entrusted to handle his funeral services.

He moved to Hampton Bays shortly after he married his wife, Agnes, in 1936 and remained one of the most active residents of the hamlet until his death. On top of his fire department service, Mr. Lupia was a member of the Hampton Bays Historical Society and a trustee at Good Ground Cemetery, according to Ms. Scott.

Local fire departments closed down a stretch of Montauk Highway for about an hour on Saturday afternoon as Mr. Lupia’s funeral procession made its way from St. Rosalie’s Roman Catholic Church to Good Ground Cemetery. The procession, followed by a train of emergency vehicles, stopped briefly in front of the Hampton Bays Fire Department headquarters, where firefighters sounded the siren and saluted Mr. Lupia’s casket. A small memorial featuring his fire department gear was also set up outside the firehouse.

In addition to his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Lupia is survived by his son Benjamin Lupia Jr. of East Quogue; three grandchildren, Benjamin William Lupia and his wife Wendy, Elizabeth Borell Lindtvit and her husband Frank, and Stefan Borell and his wife Susan, all of Hampton Bays; and four great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn Lupia, Stefan A. Borell, Alinda Borell and Kala Lindtvit, all of Hampton Bays.

He was predeceased by his wife, who died 24 years ago, and his daughter-in-law Kathleen Stoddard Lupia, who died last year.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Firemen’s Home, a retirement facility for volunteer firefighters in Hudson, New York. The facility is located at 125 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson, NY, 12534.

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So sorry to hear of Ben's passing. He was a wonderful member of the Hampton Bays community. May be rest in peace. Deepest condolences to his family. Thank you, Ben, for your service.

By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Apr 30, 10 3:22 PM
3 members liked this comment
You will be missed Ben. You were always the gentleman.
By BigL11946 (29), Hampton Bays on Apr 30, 10 4:00 PM
2 members liked this comment
I am adding some comments for my father, Joe Hojenski of Portland, Oregon, who does not have access to a computer. He was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of his brother and my Godfather. Many fond memories, you will be missed by all.
By fradew (3), Harvest on May 1, 10 9:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
What a wonderful person! RIP
By LUVSH (28), Southampton on May 1, 10 2:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Now you're safely off of Montauk Highway and directing traffic at the gates of Heaven. God bless you Ben.

Hey Southampton Press, why was the 75th anniversary of the HBFD held in 2005? Please check your facts.
By HBNative (15), Hampton Bays on May 3, 10 9:03 AM
Founded in 1930, as the article states - 75 years later is 2005. Press is correct.
By cpk21 (16), Hampton Bays on May 3, 10 11:26 AM

The writer was misinformed. It has been corrected now. Thanks for pointing it out.
By BOReilly (135), 27east Web Editor on May 3, 10 11:35 AM
Mr. Lupia was a wonderful man who was dedicated to our community. He shall be greatly missed.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on May 5, 10 3:53 PM
A wonderful man from a wonderful generation. A generation perhaps we could all take a few lessons from these days.

May you rest in the arms of your maker, and may God Bless your family and friends.

When I am called to duty, God
Whenever flames may rage
Give me strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person
The horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert
And ...more
By EQMama (29), East Quogue on May 7, 10 2:26 PM
Thanks you so much for the wonderful obituary. Benjamin Lupia was my beloved "Uncle" Benny. I had not seen him for many years and the picture you showed was wonderful to see. He was first cousin to my mother. To Barbara and "little" Benny (as we always called you), I am so sorry for your loss. God Bless
By djd45212 (1), Riverhead on Oct 23, 10 7:00 PM