By Andrew Wroblewski
“He did everything.”
Handing out uniforms, managing schedules, taking care of the fields at Greenlawn Park and greeting those that came to it with a smile – these are a few of the things that made Joseph Heid the president of Huntington Tri-Village Little League. But they’re also what made him a beloved figurehead in the Huntington community for nearly 40 years.
Joseph Heid, a longtime resident of Greenlawn, died April 13. He was 76.
Born in Bayside, Queens, Heid met his wife, Marion, when the two were just 16 years old and worked for Mayflower Movers in Astoria, Queens. The couple spent 53 years together and made a home in Greenlawn while Heid worked for 21 years as a patrolman for the New York Police Department’s 114th Precinct.
In the Town of Huntington, however, Heid quickly established himself as a member of the community when he joined up with Huntington Tri-Village as a manager 37 years ago; he coached his son, Joey.
Heid eventually rose through the ranks at Huntington Tri-Village to umpire in chief and eventually president 29 years ago.
“He just loved every second of it,” Marion said of her husband. “He gained the respect of the kids that played – and then their kids after them.”
As Marion said, it was typical for Heid to watch kids from Huntington Tri-Village grow through the program, leave and eventually come back to start the entire process again with children of their own. For 57 years, Huntington Tri-Village has offered Little League baseball and softball to kids in the Harborfields, Elwood, Huntington and South Huntington school districts.
“He was extremely devoted to Huntington Tri-Village and, at that, the entire Huntington community,” John Zammillo, umpire in chief for the league, said. “Sweep the floors, hand out the uniforms, take care of the fields… He did everything and he led by example. He will be sorely missed by all of us.”
To some, the actions of Heid that weren’t physically visible may have been the most valuable.
Supreme Court Justice John Leo, who coached for Huntington Tri-Village for many years, said Heid and the league helped him, and his children, form bonds with other members of the community that they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to make.
“My kids attended Catholic school, but because of Huntington Tri-Village, they were able to become friends with kids from Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington, Elwood, Harborfields, Melville, [etc.],” Leo said. “[Heid] was very well respected… He did a great job.”
At home Heid showed that same love and compassion for the couple’s children, Joey and Jo Ann.
“My father was an amazing, caring and loving man,” Jo Ann said. “His compassion, generosity and kindness shined so bright. He has touched so many lives and believed in everyone. I am truly proud and blessed to call him my dad.”
Just like the children of Huntington Tri-Village that returned to the league with their own children, Joey’s daughter, Hailey, joined up with the league when she was 4 years old and is still playing today.
Marion also played a major part in helping organize the league throughout Heid’s stint as president.
As the continuous involvement from the family reflects, Zammillo said, Huntington Tri-Village wasn’t just a baseball and softball league; “It was the ‘Heid Family Little League.’”
That league cancelled all of its scheduled games on April 18, the day of a funeral Mass for Heid at St. Francis Church in Greenlawn; he was buried at St. Mary’s in Flushing.
Arrangements were made by Brueggemann Funeral Home of East Northport on the days prior.
Heid is survived by his wife, Marion Heid; children, Joey Heid and his wife Wendy Heid, and Jo Ann and her husband Michael Scavone; and his grandchildren, Hailey Heid and L.J. Heid. He was predeceased by his brother, William.
“We could not have asked to have been blessed with a better father or grandfather,” Wendy said. “He taught us all through his dedication and hard work how to be better people and that we can achieve anything.”
But Heid is also survived by Huntington Tri-Village; during the league’s special games on Memorial Day, Heid will be honored during a ceremony and, eventually, with a plaque to be displayed at Greenlawn Park, Zammillo said.
The very same park shelters field no. 19 – or, as the Town of Huntington dedicated it in January 2000, Heid Field.