The East Northport Fire Department mourned the loss of ex-Chief and Commissioner Wayne Kaifler, Sr., 66, who answered his last alarm on August 22, 2020.
‘Big Wayne’ as he was affectionately known around the firehouse, joined the department in 1983 and was assigned badge number 200. In 1985 after being in the department for just two years, Kaifler was awarded a Certificate of Merit for his outstanding performance of duty, placing himself in danger while trying to shut off a major gas leak caused by a car into a building.
In 1989, Kaifler was elected Lieutenant of Engine Company One and later Captain of Engine Company Two. He then advanced through the assistant chief ranks, serving as Chief of the Department from 2001 through 2002. In 2011 he was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners and continued to serve the department in that capacity.
Kaifler worked for NYC local 1298 as an asphalt foreman for 33 years. He was also part of the Muster Team and competed throughout the state in competitions. Wayne enjoyed many things in the department, the antique Maxim truck, being Chief and Commissioner, but his biggest joy were his two grandsons, Wayne III and Tyler. He enjoyed making cookies and chocolate whoppers with the boys.
Wayne Kaifler, Jr., joined the department and followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming Chief of the Department as well. Wayne Sr. and Jr. are the first father and son to become Chief in the department’s history.
Wayne Sr. is survived by his loving wife Patti, sons Wayne Jr., and Matthew, daughter Erica (Nicholas) Amato. He was also the proud “pop pop” of Wayne III and Tyler. He is the cherished son of Wilma Lynch and father-in-law of Stacie Catanese. He was the brother of Rev. Bruce (Barbara) Kaifler and Christina (Tim) Van Schultz, and the nephew of Hildegarde Arras and Virginia Meyer.
Visitation was held at Brueggemann Funeral Home with Funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church in East Northport. Interment followed at St. Philip Neri Cemetery.
– Fire News story and photos by Steve Silverman, K2MPhotography.com and additional photos courtesy East Northport FD